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H.  T.  RILEY,  ESQ.,  B.A., 


VOL.  V. 








CHAP.  Page 

1.  The  antipathies  and  sympathies  which  exist  among  trees  and 

plants     . .          . .          '. .         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  1 

2.  The  lotus  of  Italy  :  six  remedies            3 

3.  Acorns :  thirteen  remedies           . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  4 

4.  The  kermes-berry  of  the  holm-oak :  three  remedies     ..          ..  ib. 

5.  Gall-nuts  :  twenty-three  remedies           . .          . .         . .          . .  5 

6.  Mistletoe:  eleven  remedies          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

7.  The  excrescences  which  grow  on  the  robur  :  one  remedy.     The 

cerrus :  eight  remedies            . .          . .          . .          . .         . .  6 

8.  The  cork-tree  :  two  remedies      . .          .           7 

9.  The  beech  :  four  remedies            . .         . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

I    10.  The  cypress :  twenty- three  remedies       . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

•  11.  The  cedar:  thirteen  remedies      ..         ..          ..         ..          ..  8 

I    12.  Cedrides ;  ten  remedies    ..          ..          ..          ..          ..         ..  9 

•  13.  Galbanum:  twenty-three  remedies          10 

[    14.  Hammoniacum:  twenty-four  remedies 11 

15.  Storax;  ten  remedies        ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

i]6.  Spondylium :  seventeen  remedies            ..         ..          ..          ..  12 

17.  Sphagnos,  sphacos,  or  bryon :  five  remedies       ..          ..          ..  ib. 

18.  The  terebinth ;  six  remedies.       ..          ..         ..          ..         ..  ib. 

'    19.  The  pitch-tree  and  the  larch  :  eight  remedies 13 

\    20.  The  chamaepitys  :  ten  remedies  . .         . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

\    21.  Thepityusa:  six  remedies           14 

•  22.  Resins:  twenty-two  remedies 15 

23.  Pitch  :  twenty- three  remedies      . .         . .         . .          . .         . .  17 

I    24.  Pisseleeon  and  palimpissa :  sixteen  remedies      ..         ..          ..  18 

?    25.  Pissasphaltos  :  two  remedies       . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

26.  Zopissa:  one  remedy 19 

27.  The  torch-tree  :  one  remedy . .  ib. 

28.  The  lentisk  :  twenty-two  remedies          . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

29.  The  plane-tree  :  twenty -five  remedies    . .         . .         . .         . .  20 


CHAP.  Page 

30.  The  ash  :  five  remedies 21 

31.  The  maple  :  one  remedy ib. 

32.  The  poplar :  eight  remedies         . .         . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

33.  The  elm  :  sixteen  remedies          22 

34.  The  linden-tree :  five  remedies 23 

35.  The  elder  :  fifteen  remedies         . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

36.  The  juniper  :  twenty-one  remedies        24 

37.  The  willow :  fourteen  remedies.     The  willow  of  Ameria  :  one 

remedy  . .         ....         . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  25 

38.  The  vitex  :  thirty-three  remedies           26 

39.  The  erica :  one  remedy 28 

40.  The  broom  :  five  remedies           . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

41.  The  myrica,  otherwise  called  tamarica,  or  tamarix :    three  re- 

medies  ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..         •..         ..  29 

42.  The  brya :  twenty-nine  remedies            30 

43.  The  blood-red  shrub :  one  remedy          31 

44.  The  siler  :  three  remedies           . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

45.  The  privet :  eight  remedies          . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  32 

46.  The  alder  :  one  remedy    . .          . .         . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

47-  The  several  varieties  of  the  ivy:  thirty-nine  remedies            ..  ib. 

48.  The  cisthos :  five  remedies           34 

49.  The  cissos  erythranos :  two  remedies.     The  chamsecissos :  two 

remedies.     The   smilax :    three  remedies.      The   clematis  : 

eighteen  remedies         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

50.  The  reed  :  nineteen  remedies       . .         . .         . .          . .         . .  35 

61.  The  papyrus,  and  the  paper  made  from  it :  three  remedies      . .  36 

52.  The  ebony :  five  remedies           ..          ..         ..          ..         ..  37 

53.  The  rhododendron  :  one  remedy            , .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

54.  The  rhus  or  sumach-tree ;  two  varieties  of  it :  eight  remedies. 

Stomatice          38 

55.  Rhus  erythros :  nine  remedies     . .         . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

56.  The  erythrodanus :  eleven  remedies         . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

57.  The  alysson  :  two  remedies         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  39 

58.  The  radicula  or  struthion  :  thirteen  remedies.     The  apocynum  : 

two  observations  upon  it         . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

59.  Rosemary :  eighteen  remedies     . .         « .          . .          . .         . .  40 

60.  The  seed  called  cachrys.  ..          ..         ..         ..          ..41 

61.  The  herb  savin :  seven  remedies  ..         ..         ..         ..         . .  .  ib. 

62.  Selago  :  two  remedies       . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

63.  Samolus  :  two  remedies   . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  42 

64.  Gum :  eleven  remedies     . .         . .          ib. 

65.  The  Egyptian  or  Arabian  thorn  :  four  remedies           . .          . .  43 

66.  The  white  thorn  :  two  remedies.     The  acanthion :  one  remedy  ib. 

67.  Gum  acacia  :  eighteen  remedies  . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

68.  Aspalathos :  one  remedy              . .         . .          . .         . .         . .  4o 

69.  The  erysisceptrum,  adipsatheon,  or  diaxylon :  eight  remedies  ib. 

70.  The  thorn  called  appendix:  two  remedies.     The  pyracantha: 

one  remedy       . .         . .          . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  46 

71.  The  paliurus  :  ten  remedies ib. 


CHAP.  Page 

72.  The  agrifolia.    The  aquifolia :    one  remedy.     The  yew :  one 

property  belonging  to  it          . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  46 

73.  The  bramble  :  fifty-one  remedies            . .          . .         . .         . .  47 

74.  The  cynosbatos :  three  remedies             . .         . .          , .         . .  48 

75.  The  Idaean  bramble          50 

76.  The  rhamnos  ;  two  varieties  of  it :  five  remedies           . .         . .  ib. 

77.  Lycium:  eighteen  remedies         ..         ..          ..         ,.          ..  51 

78.  Sarcocolla :  two  remedies             . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  52 

79.  Oporice  :  two  remedies     . .         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

80.  The  trixago,  chamaedrys,  chaniaedrops,  or  teucria :  sixteen  re- 

medies  . ,         ....         . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  52 

81.  The  chamaedaphne  :  five  remedies           ..         ..          ..          ..  ib. 

82.  The  chamelaea  :  six  remedies       . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  tb 

83.  The  chamaesyce  :  eight  remedies  ..         ..          ..          ..          ..  54 

84.  The  chamaecissos  :  one  remedy     . .         . .          . .         . .         . .  ib. 

85.  The  chamaeleuce,  farfarum,  or  farfugium  :  one  remedy.            . .  ib. 

86.  The  chamaepeuce  :  five  remedies.     The  charaaecyparissos  :  two 

remedies.     The  ampeloprason  :  six  remedies.     The  stachys : 

one  remedy       . .          . .         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  55 

87.  The  clinopodion,  cleonicion,  zopyron,  or  ocimoides :  three  re- 

medies   . .          , .          ib. 

88.  The  clematis  centunculus  :  three  remedies         ..          ..         ..  56 

89.  The  clematis  echites,  or  lagine    . .          . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

90.  The  Egyptian  clematis,  daphnoides,  or  polygonoides :  two  re- 

medies   . .          . .         . .          . .         . .         . .         . .          . .  57 

91.  Different  opinions  on  the  dracontium     ..          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

92.  The  aron :  thirteen  remedies        . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  58 

93.  The  dracunculus  :  two  remedies  . .          . ,          . .          . .          . .  60 

94.  The  arisaros  :  three  remedies      . .         . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

95.  The  mille folium  or  my riophy lion  t  seven  remedies        ..         ..  61 

96.  The  pseudobunion  :  four  remedies           . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

97.  The  myrrhis,  myriza,  or  myrrha :  seven  remedies         . .         . .  ib. 

98.  The  onobrychis  :  three  remedies             62 

99.  Coracesta  and  callicia       ..          ..          ..          ..         ..         ..  i//. 

100.  The  rainsas  or  corinthia  :  one  remedy  ..          . .         ..          ..  63 

101.  The  aproxis :  six  remedies        ..          ..          ..         ..          ..  ib. 

102.  The  aglaophotis  or  marmaritis.      The  achaemenis  or  hippo- 

phobas.  The  theobrotion  or  semnion.  The  adamantis. 
The  arianis.  The  therionarca.  The  aethiopis  or  merois. 
The  ophiusa.  The  thalassegle  or  potamaugis.  The  thean- 
gelis.  The  gelotophyllis.  The  hestiatoris  or  protomedia. 
The  casignetes  or  dionysonymphas.  The  helianthes  or 
heliocallis.  The  hermesias.  The  seschynomene.  Thecrocis. 

The  cenotheris.    The  anacampseros            . .         . .            .  64 

103.  The  eriphia         ..  67 

104.  The  wool  plant :  one  remedy.   The  lactoris  :  one  remedy.   The 

militaris  :  one  remedy            . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  68 

105.  The  stratiotes :  five  remedies     .«         ..          ..          ..         ..  ib. 

106.  A  plant  growing  on  the  head  of  a  statue  :  one  remedy           . .  ib. 


CHAP.  Page 

107.  A  plant  growing  on  the  banks  of  a  river :  one  remedy           . .  69 

108.  The  herb  called  lingua  :  one  remedy    ..          ..          . .         ..  ib. 

109.  Plants  that  take  root  in  a  sieve  :  one  remedy  . .          . .         . .  ib. 

110.  Plants  growing  upon  dunghills  :  one  remedy  ..         ..         ..  ib. 

111.  Plants  that  have  been  moistened  with  the  urine  of  a  dog  :  one 

remedy            . .          , .         . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

112.  Therodarum:  three  remedies ..  ib. 

113.  The  plant  called  impia  :  two  remedies  ..         ..          . .         ..  70 

114.  The  plant  called  Venus' comb:   one  remedy     ..          ..         ..  ib. 

115.  The  exedum.     The  plant  called  notia  :  two  remedies ..         ..  71 

116.  The  philanthropos :  one    remedy.     The  lappa  canaria :  two 

remedies          , .         . .          . .         . .          . .         .  „         . .  ib. 

117.  Tordylon  or  syreon  :  three  remedies ib. 

118.  Gramen:  seventeen  remedies     ..          ..          ..         .„          ..  72 

119.  Dactylos:  five  remedies  ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  73 

120.  Fenugreek  or  silicia :  thirty-one  remedies        ..          ..         ..  74 



1.  When  the  wild  plants  were  first  brought  into  use          . .         . .  77 

2.  The  Latin  authors  who  have  written  upon  these  plants            . .  78 

3.  At  what  period  the  Eomans  acquired  some  knowledge  of  this 

subject  . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

4.  Greek  authors  who  have  delineated  the  plants  in  colours         . .  80 

5.  The  first  Greek  authors  who  wrote  upon  plants             . .         . .  ib. 

6.  Why  a  few  of  the   plants  only  have  been  used  medicinally. 

Plants,  the  medicinal  properties  of  which  have  been  miracu- 
lously discovered.     The  cynorrhodos :  two  remedies.      The 
plant  called  dracunculus :  one  remedy.     The  britannica :  five 

remedies            . .          . .          . .         . .          . .          . .          . .  83 

•  7.  What  diseases  are  attended  with  the  greatest  pain.    Names  of 

persons  who  have  discovered  famous  plants  . .          . .          . .  86 

8.  Moly  :  three  remedies      . .          . .          . .         . .         . .         . .  87 

9.  The  dodecatheos :  one  remedy    . .         . .         . .         . .         . .  88 

10.  The  pseonia,  pentorobus,  or  glycyside  :  one  remedy      ..          ..  ib. 

11.  The  panaces  asclepion :   two  remedies    ..         ..         ..          ..  89 

12.  The  panaces  heracleon  :  three  remedies  . .         . .         . .         . .  90 

13.  The  panaces  chironion :  four  remedies    ..          ..          ..         ..  ib. 

14.  The  panaces  centaurion  or  pharnacion  :  three  remedies           . .  ib. 

15.  The  heracleon  sideri on  :  four  remedies   ..         ..          ..         ..  91 

16.  The  ampelos  chironia  :  one  remedy ib. 

17.  Hyoscyamos,  known  also  as  the  apollinaris  oraltercum;  five 

varieties  of  it :  three  remedies            . .          . .         . .          , .  ib. 

18.  Linozostis,  parthenion,  hermupoa,  or  mercurialis  :  two  varieties 

of  it :  twenty-two  remedies     . .          . .           .          . .          .  92 

19.  The  achilleos,  sideritis,  panaces  heracleon,  millefolium,  or  scopae 

regiae  ^  six  varieties  of  it :  three  remedies 94 


CHAP.  Page 

20.  The  teucrion,  hemionion,  or  splenion  :  two  remedies    . .         . .  95 

21.  Melampodium,  hellebore,  or  veratrura;    three   varieties  of  it. 

The  way  in  which  it  is  gathered,  and  how  the  quality  of  it  is 

tested     , 96 

22.  Twenty-four  remedies  derived  from  black  hellebore.     How  it 

should  be  taken            98 

23.  Twenty-three  remedies  derived  from  white  hellebore     . .          . .  99 

24.  Eighty-eight  observations  upon  the  two  kinds  of  hellebore      . .  100 

25.  To  what  persons  hellebore  should  never  be  administered         ..  101 

26.  The  mithridatia     . .          102 

27.  The  scordotis  or  scordion  :  four  remedies           . .          . .          . .  ib. 

28.  The  polemonia,  philetaeria,  or  chiliodynamus :  six  remedies     ..  ib. 

29.  The  eupatoria :  one  remedy          103 

30.  Centaurion  or  chironion  :  twenty  remedies         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

31.  The  centaurion  lepton,  or  libadion,  known  also  as  fel  terra : 

twenty-two  remedies     . .          . .         . .         . .          . .  104 

32.  The  centauris  triorchis  :  two  remedies ib. 

33.  Clymenus :  two  remedies             ..         ,.          ..         ..         ..  105 

34.  Gentian  :  thirteen  remedies         . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  ?/;. 

35.  The  lysimachia  :   eight  remedies             106 

36.  Artemisia,  parthenis,  botrys,  or  ambrosia :  five  remedies         . .  ib. 

37.  Nymphaea,  heracleou,  rhopalon,  or  madon;  two  varieties  of  it: 

four  remedies    . .         , .         . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  107 

38.  Two  varieties  of  euphorbia :  four  remedies.   The  chamelaea      . .  ib. 

39.  Two  varieties  of  the  plantago  :  forty-six  remedies         ..         ..  109 

40.  Buglossos  :  three  remedies           . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

41.  Cynoglossos:  three  remedies       ..          ..          ..         ..         ..  HO 

42.  The  buphthalmos  or  cachla  :  one  remedy          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

43.  Plants  which   have  been  discovered  by  certain  nations.     The 

scythice :  one  remedy    . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

44.  The  hippace  :  three  remedies       ..          ..         ..          . .         ..Ill 

45.  The  ischcemon  :  two  remedies      . .         . .          . .         . .         . .  ib. 

46.  The  cestros,  psychotrophon,  vettonica,  or  serratula  :  forty-eight 

remedies           . .          . .         . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

47.  The  cantabrica :  two  remedies 1 12 

48.  Consiligo :  one  remedy     ..          ..         ..          ..         ..         ..  ib. 

49.  The  iberis  :  seven  remedies          113 

50.  Plants  which  have  been  discovered  by  certain  animals.     Cheli- 

donia:  six  remedies     ..         ..          ..          ..         ..          ..  114 

51.  The  dog-plant :  one  remedy        ib. 

52.  The  elaphoboscon 115 

53.  Dictamnon ;  eight  remedies.   Pseudodictamnon  or  chondris.   In 

what  places  the  most  powerful  plants  are  found.     How  that 
milk  is  drunk  in  Arcadia  for  the  beneficial  effects  of  the 

plants  upon  which  the  cattle  feed       . .          . .         . .         . .  ib. 

51.  The  aristolochia,  clematitis,  cretica,  plistolochia,  lochia  polyr- 

rhizos,  or  apple  of  the  earth :  twenty-two  remedies             . .  116 

55.  The  employment  of  these  plants  for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents  118 

56.  The  argemonia  :  four  remedies    ..         ..         ..          ..         ..119 


CHAP.  Page 

57.  Agaric:  thirty-three  remedies     ....         120 

58.  The  echios  ;  three  varieties  of  it ;  two  remedies            . .          . .  ib. 

59.  Hierabotane,  peristereon,  or  verbenaca ;  two  varieties  of  it :  ten 

remedies  ..         ..          ..         ..          ..          ..         ..121 

60.  The  blattaria :  one  remedy           122 

61.  Lemonium  ;  one  remedy               ..         ..          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

62.  Quinquefolium,  known  also  as  pentapetes,  pentaphyllon,  or  eha- 

maezelon ;  thirty-three  remedies         . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

68.'  The  sparganion ;  one  remedy      . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  123 

64.  Four  varieties  of  the  daucus  :  eighteen  remedies         . .          . .  ib. 

65.  The  therionarca  :  two  remedies 124 

66.  The  persolata  or  arcion  :  eight  remedies            . .          . .          . .  ib. 

67.  Cyclaminos  or  tuber  terrae  :  twelve  remedies      ..         ..         ..  125 

68.  The  cyelaminos  cissanthemos  :  four  remedies     . .          . .          . .  ib. 

69.  The  cyelaminos  chamaBcissos :  three  remedies     . .          . .          . .  126 

70.  Peucedanum :  twenty-eight  remedies ib. 

71.  Ebulum :  six  remedies      ..         ..         ..          ..         ..         ..  127 

72.  Polemonia :  one  remedy  ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

73.  Phlomos  or  verbascum :  fifteen  remedies . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

74.  The  phlomis  :  one  remedy.     The  lychnitis  or  thryallis             . .  ib. 

75.  The  thelyphonon  or  scorpio  :  one  remedy          ..          ..         ..  128 

76.  The  phrynion.  neuras,  or  poterion  :  one  remedy           . .         . .  ib. 

77.  The  alisma,  damasonion,  or  lyron:   seventeen  remedies. .         ..  129 

78.  Peristereos:  six  remedies             ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  130 

79.  Eemedies  against  certain  poisons             . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

80.  The  antirrhinum,  anarrhinon,  or  lychnis  agria:  three  remedies  131 

81.  Euclea :  one  remedy         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

82.  The  pericarpum  ;  two  varieties  of  it :  two  remedies     . .         . .  ib. 

83.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  head.     Nymphsea  heraclia  :  two 

remedies             132 

84.  The  lingulaca :  one  remedy          ib. 

85.  The  cacalia  or  leontice  :  three  remedies  . .          . .          . .  133 

86.  The  callitrichos  :   one  remedy      . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

87.  Hyssop :  ten  remedies       . .         . .          . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

88.  The  lonchitis  :   four  remedies 134 

89.  The  xiphion  or  phasganion  :  four  remedies        ib. 

90.  Psyllion,  cynoides,  crystallion,  sicelicon,  or  cynomyia ;  sixteen 

remedies.     Thryselinum  :  one  remedy           . .          . .          . .  135 

91.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  eyes  ..          ..         ..          ..136 

92.  The  anagallis,  or  corchoron ;  two  varieties  of  it :  six  remedies  ib. 

93.  The  aegilops :   two  remedies          ..          ..          ..          ..         ..  138 

94.  Mandragora,  circseon,  morion,   or  hippophlomos ;  two  varieties 

of  it :  twenty-four  remedies     . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

95.  Hemlock  :   thirteen  remedies        140 

96.  Crethmos  agrios :   one  remedy     ..         ..         ..         ..         ..  141 

97.  Molybdsena :  one  remedy  . .         . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

98.  The  first  kind  of  capnos,  known  also  as  chicken's  foot :  one  re- 

medy     . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  142 

99.  The  arborescent  capnos :  three  remedies            ib. 


CHAP.  Page 

100.  The  aeoron  or  agrion  :  fourteen  remedies         ..         ..         ..  142 

101.  The  cotyledon :   two  varieties  of  it :  sixty-one  remedies         ..  143 

102.  The  greater  aizoiim,  also  called  buphthalmos,  zoophthalmos, 

stergethron,  hypogeson,  ambrosion,  amerimnon,  sedum  mag- 
num, or  digitellus :  thirty-six  remedies.  The  smaller  aizoiim, 
also  called  erithales,  trithales,  chrysothales,  isoetes  or  sedum : 

thirty-two  remedies       . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

103.  The  andrachle  agria  or  illecebra:   thirty-two  remedies             . .  144 

104.  A  remedy  for  diseases  of  the  nostrils    ..          ..          ..          ..  145 

105.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  teeth         . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

106.  Erigeron,  pappus,  acanthis,  or  senecio  :  eight  remedies           ..  146 

107.  The  ephemeron  :  two  remedies  ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  147 

108.  The  labrum  Venereum:  one  remedy     . .          . .          . .  148 

109.  The  batrachion,  ranunculus,  or  strumus ;  four  varieties  of  it : 

fourteen  remedies          . .          . .         .            . .          . .  ib. 

110.  Remedial  preparations  for  offensive  breath  :   two  kinds  of  them  150 



1.  New  forms  of  disease     *..         ..          ..          ..         ..          ..  152 

2.  The  nature  of  lichen         . .          . .         . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

3.  At  what  period  lichen  first  made  its  appearance  in  Italy           . .  ib. 

4.  Carbuncle    . .          . .         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .          . .  154 

5.  Elephantiasis         . .         . .         . .         . .         . .         . .         . .  ib. 

6.  Colic           155 

7.  The  new  system  of  medicine  :  Asclepiades  the  physician          . .  156 

8.  The  changes  effected  by  Asclepiades  in  the  practice  of  medicine  157 

9.  Remarks  in  dispraise  of  the  practices  of  magic            . .         . .  159 

10.  Lichen  :  five  remedies      . .         . .         . .         . .         . .         . .  160 

11.  Quinzy           161 

12.  Scrofula         ib. 

13.  The  plant  called  bellis  :  two  remedies     ..         ..          ..         ..  162 

14.  The  condurdum      . .          . .         . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

15.  Cough         163 

16.  Bechion,  otherwise  known  as  arcion,  chamaeleuce,  or  tussilago : 

three  remedies              ..         ..         ..          ..          ..          ..  164 

17.  The  bechion,  known  also  as  salvia :  four  remedies         . .         . .  ib. 

18.  Affections  of  the  side,  chest,  and  stomach          ..         ..          . .  ib. 

19.  Molon  or  syron.     Amomum          . .  -       . .          . .         . .          . .  165 

20.  The  ephedra  or  anabasis;  three  remedies           . .         . .     .     . .  166 

21.  Geum;  three  remedies ib. 

22.  Tripolium:  three  remedies          167 

23.  The  grompha3na ib. 

24.  The  malundrum  :  two  remedies  . .         . .         . .         . .         . .  ib. 

25.  Chalcetum;  two  remedies.     Molemonium ;  one  remedy          ..  168 

26.  Halus  or  cotonea :  five  remedies 169 


CHAP  Page 

27.  The  chamaedrops  :  one  remedy.     The  stcechas :  one  remedy    ..  169 

28.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  belly          . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

29.  The  astragalus :  six  remedies       . .          ..          ..          ..          ..  170 

30.  Ladanum :   eighteen  remedies      ..          ..         ..          ..         ..171 

31.  Chondris  or  pseudodietamnon :    one  remedy.      Hypoeisthis  or 

orobethron  ;  two  varieties  :   eight  remedies  ..          ..          ..  172 

32.  Laver  or  sion  :  two  remedies       . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

33.  Potamogiton :  eight  remedies.     The  statice :  three  remedies  . .  ib. 

34.  The  ceratia  :     two  remedies.      Leontopodion,  leuceoron,  dori- 

petron,  or  thorybethron.     Lagopus :  three  remedies             ..  173 

35.  Epithymon  or  hippopheos  ;  eight  remedies        ..          ..         ..  174 

36.  Pycnocomon;  four  remedies        ..         ..          ..          ..          ..  17o 

37.  Polypodion ;  three  remedies        ib. 

38.  Scammony;  eight  remedies         176 

39.  The  tithymalos  characias  ..         ..         ..          ..          ..177 

40.  The  tithymalos  myrtites,  or  caryites ;  twenty-one  remedies      ..  178 

41.  The  tithymalos  paralios,  or  tithymalis;  four  remedies              ..  179 

42.  The  tithymalos  helioscopios ;  eighteen  remedies            . .          . .  ib. 

43.  The  tithymalos  cyparissias ;  eighteen  remedies  ..         ..          ..  180 

44.  The  tithymalos  platyphyllos,  corymbites,  or  amygdalites  ;  three 

remedies             . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

45.  The  tithymalos  dendroides,  cobios,  or  leptophyllos ;   eighteen 

remedies            . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

46.  The  apios  ischas,  or  raphanos  agria  ;  two  remedies       . .         . .  ib. 

47.  Remedies  for  griping  pains  in  the  bowels           ..         ..         ..  181 

48.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  spleen         . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

49.  Remedies  for  calculi  and  diseases  of  the  bladder           ..          ..  182 

50.  Crethmos;  eleven  remedies.     Cachry 183 

51.  The  anthyllion ;  two  remedies.     The  anthyllis  ;  two  remedies. .  184 

52.  Cepeea ;  one  remedy          . .         . .         . .          . .         . .         . .  ib. 

53.  Hypericon,  chamsepitys,  or  corison ;  nine  remedies        ..          ..  185 

54.  Caros  or  hypericon ;  ten  remedies            . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

55.  The  callithrix ;  one  remedy.     The  perpressa ;  one  remedy.    The 

chrysanthemum;  one  remedy.     The  anthemis ;  one  remedy  186 

56.  Silaus;  one  remedy          ..         ..         ..          ..         ..          ..  ib. 

57.  The  plant  of  Fulvius         ..          ..          187 

58.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  testes  and  of  the  fundament        . .  ib. 

59.  Inguinalis  or  argemo         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..         ..  188 

60.  Remedies  for  inflamed  tumours.     Chrysippios ;  one  remedy     . .  ib 

61.  Aphrodisiacs  and  antaphrodisiacs             ..          ..          ..          ..  189 

62.  The  orchis  or  serapias  ;  five  medicinal  properties.     Satyrion    . .  ib. 

63.  Satyrion ;    three  medicinal  properties.      Satyrion  erythraicon  ; 

four  medicinal  properties          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  190 

64.  Remedies  for  the  gout  and  diseases  of  the  feet              . .          . .  192 

65.  Lappago  or  mollugo ;  one  remedy.    Asperugo  ;  one  remedy    . .  ib. 

66.  Phycos  thalassion  or  sea-weed ;  three  varieties  of   it.      Lappa 

boaria     .            193 

67.  Maladies  which  attack  the  whole  of  the  body    . .          . .          . .  194 

68.  The  geranion,  myrrhis  or  myrtis;  three  varieties  of  it :  six  remedies  195 

CONTEKTS.  xiii 

CHAP.  Page 

69.  The  onotheras  or  onear  ;  three  remedies            196 

70.  Remedies  for  epilepsy        . .          . .          . .         • .         . .  ib. 

71.  Remedies  for  fevers           . .          . .          . .          • .         ...          . .  197 

72.  Remedies  for  phrenitis,  lethargy,  and  carbuncles            . .         . .  198 

73.  Remedies  for  dropsy.     Acte  or  ebulum.     Chamaeacte    . .          . .  ib. 

74.  Remedies  for  erysipelas     ..          ..         ..         ••          ..         ..199 

75.  Remedies  for  sprains         . .          . .         . .         . .          . .         • .  200 

76.  Remedies  for  jaundice       ..          ..         ..         ••          ••  ib. 

77.  Remedies  for  boils             201 

78.  Remedies  for  fistula          ib. 

79.  Remedies  for  abscesses  and  hard  tumours           . .          . .         . .  ib. 

80.  Remedies  for  burns           202 

81.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  sinews  and  joints ib. 

82.  Remedies  for  haemorrhage            . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  203 

83.  Hippuris,  otherwise  called  ephedron,  anabasis,  or  equisoetum ; 

three  kinds  of  it ;  eighteen  remedies             ib. 

84.  Stephanomelis ..          205 

85.  Remedies  for  ruptures  and  convulsions.  Erysithales;  one  remedy  ib. 

86.  Remedies  for  phthiriasis               206 

87.  Remedies  for  ulcers  and  wounds  ..         ..         ..         ..         ..  ib. 

88.  Polycnemon ;  one  remedy             . .         . .          . .         . .         . .  209 

89.  Remedies  for  warts,  and  applications  for  the  removal  of  scars  . .  ib. 

90.  Remedies  for  female  diseases        . .         . .          . .          . .  210 

91.  Arsenogonon ;  one  medicinal  property.     Thelygonon  ;  one  me- 

dicinal property 213 

92.  Mastos ;  one  remedy          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  214 

93.  Applications  for  the  hair.    Lysimachia.     Ophrys          . .         . .  ib. 



1.  Researches  of  the  ancients  upon  this  subject      ..         ..         ..  217 

2.  Aconite,  otherwise  called  thelyphonon,  cammaron,  pardaliaiiches, 

or  scorpio;  four  remedies        ..         ..         ..          ..          ..  218 

3.  JEthiopis ;  four  remedies             . .          . .          . .         . .         . .  221 

4.  Ageraton ;  four  remedies             . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

5.  The  aloe ;  twenty-nine  remedies 222 

6.  Alcea ;  one  remedy           . .         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  224 

7.  The  alypon ;  one  remedy ib. 

8.  Alsine,  a  plant  used  for  the  same  purposes  as  hebtine  ;  five  re- 

medies  ..         ..         ..         ..         ..         ..         ..         ..  ib. 

9.  The  androsaces ;  six  remedies      . .          . .         . .         . .  225 

10.  AndrosaBmon  or  ascyron ;  six  remedies    . .          . .         , .          . .  ib 

11.  Ambrosia,  botrys,  or  artemisia ;  three  remedies 226 

12.  The  anonis  or  ononis ;  five  remedies       ..          ..          ..  ib. 

13.  The  anagyros  or  acopon  ;  three  remedies           . .          . .         . .  ib. 

14.  The  anonymos;  two  remedies      . .          . .          . .         . .         . .  227 

15.  Aparine,  omphalocarpos,  or  philanthropes ;  three  remedies      . .  ib* 


CHAP.  Page 

16.  The  arction  or  arcturum ;  five  remedies  . .          . .         . .  228 

17.  The  asplenon  or  hemionion;  two  remedies         . .         . .         . .  ib. 

18.  The  asclepias ;  two  remedies        ..          ..          ..         ..         ..  229 

19.  The  aster  or  bubonion ;  three  remedies ib. 

20.  Ascyron  and  ascyroides ;  three  remedies ib. 

21.  Theaphaca;  three  remedies        ..          . .         ..          ..          ..  230 

22.  Alcibium ;  one  remedy      . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

23.  Alectoroslophos  or  crista  ;  two  remedies  . .          . .          . .  ib. 

24.  Alum,  also  called  symphyton  petreeon  ;  fourteen  remedies         ..  2:U 

25.  Alga  rufa  or  red  sea-weed ;  one  remedy 232 

26.  Actaaa ;  one  remedy          ib. 

27.  The  ampelos  agria,  or  wild  vine ;  four  remedies  . .       '  . .  ib. 

28.  Absinthium  or  wormwood ;  four  varieties ;  forty-eight  remedies  i b. 

29.  Absinthium  marinum  or  seriphum  . .          . .          . .          . .  235 

30.  The  ballotes,  melamprasion,  or  black  leek ;  three  remedies      . .  236 

31.  Botrys,  ambrosia,  or  artemisia ;  one  remedy      ..         ..          ..  ib. 

32.  The  brabyla ;  one  remedy  . .          . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

33.  Bryon  maritimum  ;  five  remedies  . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

34.  The  bupleuron ;  one  remedy        '  237 

35.  The  catanance ;  one  observation  upon  it.     The  cemos  ;   one  ob- 

servation upon  it  . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

36.  The  calyx  ;  three  remedies  238 

37.  The  calyx,  known  also  as  anchusa  or  onoclia ;  two  remedies    . .  ib. 

38.  The  circaBa ;  three  remedies         . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

39.  The  cirsion  ;  one  remedy  . .          . .          . .          . .          . ,  239 

40.  The  crata3gonon ;  two  kinds  of  it ;  eight  remedies       . .          . .  ib. 

41.  The  crocodileon ;  two  remedies    ..          ..         ..          ..          .,  240 

42.  The  cynosorchis  or  orchis ;  four  remedies  . .          . .          . .  ib. 

43.  The  chrysolachanum;  two  varieties  of  it;  three  remedies.     Co- 

agulum  terra3 ;  two  remedies  . .          . .          . .  241 

44.  The  cucubalus,  strumus,  or  strycbnon ;  six  remedies     . .         < .  ib. 

45.  The  conferva ;  two  remedies         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  242 

46.  The  coccus  Cnidius,  or  grain  of  Gnidos  ;  two  remedies. .          . .  ib 

47.  Thedipsacos;  two  remedies         ib. 

48.  The  dryopteris ;  two  remedies 243 

49.  The  dryophonon ib. 

50.  The  elatine ;  two  remedies  . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

51.  Empetros,  by  our  people  called  ealcifraga;  four  remedies         . .  244 

52.  The  epipactis  or  elleborine  ;  two  remedies          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

53.  The  epimedion ;  three  remedies   . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

54.  The  enneaphyllon;  two  remedies  ..          ..          ..          ..  245 

55.  Two  varieties  of  filix  or  fern,  known  to  the  Greeks  as  pteris  or 

blachnon,  and  as  thelypteris  or  nympha3a  pteris ;  eleven  re- 
medies   . .         . .          . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  #>. 

56.  Femur  bubulum,  or  ox  thigh        . .         . .         . .         . .  246 

57.  Galeopsis,  galeobdolon,  or  galion ;  six  remedies. .          ..         ..  ib. 

58.  The  glaux ;  one  remedy . .  247 

59.  Glaucion;  three  remedies.     Diaglaucia ;  two  remedies  ..  ib. 

60.  The  glycyside,  pajonia,  or  pentorobos ;  twenty  remedies          . .  248 


CHAP.  Page 

61.  Gnaphalium  or  charaaezelon :  six  remedies       ..         ..          ..  249 

62.  The  gallidraga :  one  remedy ib, 

63.  Holcus  or  aristis  . .          . .         . .          . .         . .         . .         . .  250 

64.  Hyoseris :  one  remedy    . .         . .          . .         . .         . .  ib. 

65.  The  holosteon  :  three  remedies ib. 

66.  The  hippophaeston  :  eight  remedies        . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

67.  The  hypoglossa :  one  remedy     ..         ..          ....         ..  251 

68.  Hypecobn ib. 

69.  The  Idaea  herba  or  plant  of  Ida :  four  remedies          . .         . .  ib. 

70.  The  isopyron  or  phasiolon  :  two  remedies        . .         . .          . .  ib. 

71.  The  lathyris  :  two  remedies           ..          ..                  ..          ..  252 

72.  The  leontopetalon  or  pardalion  :  two  remedies            . .          . .  ib. 

73.  The  lycapsos :  two  remedies       . .         . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

74.  The   lithospermum,  exonychon,  diospyron,  or   heracleos  :  two 

remedies           253 

75.  Lapidis  muscus,  or  stone  moss :  one  remedy    . .          . .         . .  254 

76.  The  limeum  :  one  remedy          . .         . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

77.  The  leuce,  mesoleucon,  or  leucas  :  three  remedies       ..          ..  *b. 

78.  The  leucographis  :  five  remedies           . .         . .         . .         . .  255 

79.  The  medion  :  three  remedies ib. 

80.  The  myosota  or  myosotis  :  three  remedies        . .          . .         . .  ib. 

81.  Themyagros:  one  remedy         ..         ..          ..         ..          ..  256 

82.  The  nyma :  one  remedy  . .         . .          . .         . .         . .         . .  ib. 

83.  The  natrix :  one  remedy. .          . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

84.  Odontitis :  one  remedy 257 

85..  The  othonna :  one  remedy         ib. 

86.  The  onosma  :  one  property        . .         . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

87.  The  onopordon :  five  remedies  . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  258 

88.  The  osyris :  four  remedies         . .          . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

89.  The  oxys :  two  remedies. .          . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

90.  The  polyauthemum  or  batrachion :  three  remedies     ..          ..  ib. 

91.  The  polygonos,  polygonatos,  teuthalis,  earcinethron,  clema,  or 

myrtopetalos,  otherwise  known  as  sanguinaria  or  orios :  four 

varieties  of  it :  forty  remedies           . .         . .         . .          . .  259 

92.  The  pancratium  :  twelve  remedies        260 

93.  The  peplis,  syce,  meconion,  or  mecon  aphrodes:  three  remedies  261 

94.  The  periclymenos  :  five  remedies           . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

95.  Pelecinon  :  one  remedy  . .         . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  262 

96.  Polygala :  one  remedy    . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

97.  Poterion,  phrynion,  or  neuras :  four  remedies  . .         . .          . .  ib. 

98.  The  phalangitis,  phalangion,  or  leucacantha  :  four  remedies  . .  263 

99.  The  phyteuma :  one  property     . .         . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

100.  The  phyllon  :  one  property       . ,         . .         . .  ib. 

101.  The  phellandrion :  two  remedies           ..         ..          ..         ..  264 

102.  Thephalaris:  two  remedies       ..          ..          ib. 

103.  The  polyrrhizon :  five  remedies. .          . .         . .         . .  ib. 

104.  The  proserpinaca :  five  remedies            . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

105.  Rhacoma :  thirty-six  remedies  . .         . .         . .          . .         . .  265 

106.  The  reseda :  two  remedies                    ib. 


CHAP.  Page 

107.  The  stoechas :  three  remedies 266 

108.  The  solanum,  by  the  Greeks  called  strychnon :  two  remedial 

properties        . .          . .         . .         . .         -  •          ;  •         •  •  *^« 

109.  Smyrnion  :  thirty- two  remedies.     Sinon  :  two  remedies        . .  ib. 

110.  Telephion:  four  remedies          267 

111.  The  trichomanes:  five  remedies 

112.  The  thalictrum :  one  remedy ib. 

113.  Thlaspi  and  Persicon  napy :  four  remedies 

114.  The  trachinia :  one  property      ..          ..         ..          ••          ••  269 

115.  The  tragonis  or  tragion  :  four  remedies.          ib. 

116.  The  tragos  or  scorpion  :  four  remedies 270 

117.  The  tragopogon  or  come            ..         ••  ib. 

118.  The  ages  of  plants          **• 

119.  How  the  greatest  efficacy  in  plants  may  be  ensured    ..         ..  271 

120.  Maladies  peculiar  to  various  nations #• 



1.  Introduction        . .         . .         . .       - . .         . .         . .         . .  275 

"~  2.  Remedies  derived  from  man       ..         ..         ..         ..         ..276 

3.  Whether  words  are  possessed  of  any  healing  efficacy  . .         . .  278 

4.  That  prodigies  and  portents  may  be  confirmed,  or  made  of  no 

effect 280 

6,  A  description  of  various  usages  ..         ..         ..         ..         ..  -283 

6.  Two  hundred  and  twenty-six  observations  on  remedies  derived 

from  man.     Eight  remedies  derived  from  children. .          . .  286 

7.  Properties  of  the  human  spittle . .         . .  288 

8.  Remedies  derived  from  the  wax  of  the  human  ear       . .         . .  291 

9.  Remedies  derived  from  the  human  hair,  teeth,  &c.      ..          ..  ib. 

10.  Remedies  derived  from  the  human  blood,   the  sexual  con- 

gress, &c 292 

11.  Remedies  derived  from  the  dead           ib. 

12.  Various  reveries  and  devices  of  the  magicians  ..         ..          ..  293 

13.  Remedies  derived  from  the  human  excretions  . .         ..          . .  294 

1 4.  Remedies  depending  upon  the  human  will 295 

15.  Remedies  derived  from  sneezing           ..         ..          ..         ..  297 

16.  Remedies  derived  from  the  sexual  congress      . .         . .          . .  ib. 

17.  Various  other  remedies 298 

18.  Remedies  derived  from  the  urine           299 

19.  Indications  of  health  derived  from  the  urine    . .         . .          . .  301 

20.  Forty-one  remedies  derived  from  the  female  sex         . .          . .  ib. 

21.  Remedies  derived  from  woman's  milk   ..         ..          ..          ..  302 

22.  Remedies  derived  from  the  spittle  of  females    . .          . .         . .  304 

23.  Facts  connected  with  the  menstrual  discharge. .          . .  ib. 

24.  Remedies  derived  from  foreign  animals :  the  elephant,  eight 

remedies         307 


CHAP.  Page 

25.  Ten  remedies  derived  from  the  lion        ..  308* 

26.  Ten  remedies  derived  from  the  camel n. 

27.  Seventy- nine  remedies  derived  from  the  hyaena             ..          ..  309 

28.  Nineteen  remedies  derived  from  the  crocodile    ..          ..          ..  31 4: 

29.  Fifteen  remedies  derived  from  the  chameleon    ..         ..          ..  31£ 

30.  Four  remedies  derived  from  the  scincus  . .         ..          . .         . .  318 

31.  Seven  remedies  derived  from  the  hippopotamus            ..          . .  ib. 

32.  Five  remedies  derived  from  the  lynx 319 

33.  Remedies  furnished  in  common  by  animals  of  the  same  class, 

whether  wild  or  tame.      Fifty-four  medicinal  uses  of  milk, 

with  observations  thereon.       . .          . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

34.  Twelve  remedies  derived  from  cheese     ..          ..          ..         ..  322 

35.  Twenty  remedies  derived  from  butter      . .         . .         . .          . .  323 

36.  Oxygala :  one  remedy       . .         . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  324 

37.  The  various  uses  of  fat,  and  observations  upon  it,  fifty-two  in 

number.            . .         . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

38.  Suet           326 

39.  Marrow 327 

40.  Gall           ib. 

41.  Blood         328 

42.  Peculiar  remedies  derived  from  various  animals,  and  classified 

according  to  the  maladies.     Remedies  against  the  poison  of 
serpents,    derived  from  the  stag,  the  fawn,  the  ophion,  the 

she-goat,  the  kid,  and  the  ass             . .         ..          . .  ib. 

43.  Remedies  for  the  bite  of  the  mad  dog.     Remedies  derived  from 

the  calf,  the  he-goat,  and  various  other  animals       . .          . .  331 

44.  Remedies  to  be  adopted  against  enchantments  . .         . .          . .  ib. 

45.  Remedies  for  poisons        , .          ..         ..          ..         ..          ..  332 

46.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  head,  and  for  alopecy        . ,         . .  334 

47.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  eyes          335 

48.  Remedies.for  diseases  and  affections  of  the  ears. .          . .         . .  337 

49.  Remedies  for  tooth-ache 338 

50.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  face            ..         ..          ..          ..  340 

51.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  tonsillary  glands  and  for  scrofula..  342 

52.  Remedies  for  pains  in  the  neck 343 

53.  Remedies  for  cough  and  for  spitting  of  blood     . .         . .         . .  ib. 

54.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  stomach   . .          . .         . .         . .  344 

55.  Remedies  for  liver  complaints  and  for  asthma  . .          . .          . .  ib. 

56.  Remedies  for  pains  in  the  loins    . .         . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

57.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  spleen      ..          ..          . .         . .  345 

58.  Remedies  for  bowel  complaints   . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  346 

59.  Remedies  for  tenesmus,  tapeworm,  and  affections  of  the  colon. .  348 

60.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  bladder,  and  for  urinary  calculi,.  349 

61.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  generative  organs  and  of  the  fun- 

dament    350 

62.  Remedies  for  gout  and  for  diseases  of  the  feet   . .          . .         . .  352 

63.  Remedies  for  epilepsy . .         . .  353 

64.  Remedies  for  jaundice      ..         ..          ..         ..          ..          ..  354 

65.  Remedies  for  broken  bones                     . .  ib. 


CHAP.  Page 

66.  Eemedies  for  fevers           ..         ..          . .          ..         ..  ..  354 

67.  Remedies  for  melancholy,  lethargy,  and  phthisis           ..  ..  355 

68.  Remedies  for  dropsy         . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  . .  356 

69.  Remedies  for  erysipelas,  and  for  purulent  eruptions      . .  . .  357 

70.  Remedies  for  sprains,  indurations,  and  boils       . .          . .  . .  ib. 

71.  Remedies  for  burns.     The  method  of  testing  bull-glue ;    seven 

remedies  derived  from  it          . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

72.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  sinews  and  for  contusions  •      . .  358 

73.  Remedies  for  haemorrhage            ib. 

74.  Remedies  for  ulcers  and  carcinomatous  sores     . .          ..  ..  359 

75.  Remedies  for  the  itch 360 

76.  Methods  of  extracting  foreign  substances  which  adhere  to  the 

body,  and  of  restoring  scars  to  their  natural  colour  . .  . .  ib. 

77.  Remedies  for  female  diseases        . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

78.  Remedies  for  the  diseases  of  infants        . .         . .          . .  . .  364 

79.  Provocatives  of  sleep         . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  . .  365 

80.  Stimulants  for  the  sexual  passions           . .         . .          . .  ib. 

81.  Remarkable  facts  relative  to  animals       ..         ..          ..  ..  366 



1.  The  origin  of  the  medical  art       .,          ..          ..          ..         ..  370 

2.  Particulars  relative  to  Hippocrates.    Date  of  the  origin  of  clinical 

practice  and  of  that  of  latraleptics      . .         . .          . .         . .  371 

3 .  Particulars  relative  to  Chrysippus  and  Erasistratus       . .         . .  ib. 

4.  The  Empiric  branch  of  medicine  . .         . .          . .          . .          . .  372 

5.  Particulars  relative  to  Herophilus  and  other  celebrated  physicians. 

The  various  changes  that  have  been  made  in  the  system  of 

medicine            . .         . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

6.  Who  first  practised  as  a  physician  at  Rome,  and  at  what  period  375 

7.  The  opinions  entertained  by  the  Romans  on  the  ancient  physicians  ib. 

8.  Evils  attendant  upon  the  practice  of  medicine  ...        ...         ..  376 

9.  Thirty-five  remedies  derived  from  wool  . .          . .          . .          . .  381 

10.  Thirty-two  remedies  derived  from  wool-grease  . .         . .         . .  383 

11.  Twenty-two  remedies  derived  from  eggs            ..         ..         .,  385 

12.  Serpents' eggs       388 

13.  The  method  of  preparing  commagenum.     Four  remedies  derived 

from  it  . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .         . .  390 

14.  Remedies  derived  from  the  dog    ..         %.          ..          ..          ..  391 

15.  Remedies  classified  according  to  the  different  maladies.     Reme- 

dies for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents.     Remedies  derived  from 

mice       ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  392 

16.  Remedies  derived  from  the  weasel          . .          ..         ....  ib. 

17.  Remedies  derived  from  bugs         ..          ,.          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

18.  Particulars  relative  to  the  asp      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  394 

19.  Remedies  derived  from  the  basilisk         ..         ..  ib. 


CHAP.  Papa 

20.  Remedies  derived  from  the  dragon          395 

21.  Remedies  derived  from  the  viper  ..          ..          ..          . .          . .  ib. 

22.  Remedies  derived  from  the  other  serpents          . .          . .          . .  396 

23.  Remedies  derived  from  the  salamander   . .          . .         . .         . .  397 

24.  Remedies  derived  from  birds,  for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents. 

Remedies  derived  from  the  vulture     . .         . .          . .         . .  398 

25.  Remedies  derived  from  poultry 399 

26.  Remedies  derived  from  other  birds          . .          . .          . .         . .  400 

27.  Remedies  for  the  bite  of  the  phalangium.     The  several  varieties 

of  that  insect,  and  of  the  spider          . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

28.  Remedies  derived  from  the  stellio,  or  spotted  lizard      . .          . .  402 

29.  Remedies  derived  from  various  insects    . .          . .          . .          . .  403 

30.  Remedies  derived  from  cantharides         ib. 

31.  Various  counter-poisons 405 

32.  Remedies  for  the  bite  of  the  mad  dog     ..          ..          ..         ..  ib. 

33.  Remedies  for  the  other  poisons    . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  407 

34.  Remedies  for  alopecy        . .         . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  408 

35.  Remedies  for  lice  and  for  porrigo            . .          . .          . .          . .  409 

36.  Remedies  for  head-ache,  and  for  wounds  on  the  head    . .         . .  ib. 

37.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  eyelids      ..         ..          ..          ..  410 

38.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  eyes  ..          ..         ..          ..411 

39.  Remedies  for  pains  and  diseases  of  the  ears        . .         . .          . .  416 



1.  The  origin  of  the  magic  art         ..          421 

2.  "When  and  where  the  art  of  magic  originated  :  by  what  persons 

it  was  practised  . .         . .          422 

3.  Whether  magic  was  ever  practised  in  Italy.     At  what  period 

the  senate  first  forbade  human  sacrifices         . .         . .          . .  425 

4.  The  Druids  of  the  Gallic  provinces          . .          . .         , .          . .  426 

5.  The  various  branches  of  magic    . .         . .         . .         . .         . .  427 

6.  The  subterfuges  practised  by  the  magicians        . .          . .         . .  428 

7.  Opinions  of  the  magicians  relative  to  the  mole.     Five  remedies 

derived  from  it 429 

8.  The  other  remedies  derived  from  living  creatures,  classified  ac- 

cording to  the  respective  diseases.     Remedies  for  tooth-ache  430 

9.  Remedies  for  offensive  odours  and  sores  of  the  mouth  . .          . .  432 

10.  Remedies  for  spots  upon  the  face  . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

11.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  throat       ..         ..         ..          ..  433 

12.  Remedies  for  quinzy  and  scrofula  ..          ..         ..          ..  434 

13.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  shoulders 436 

14.  Remedies  for  pains  in  the  viscera  ..          . .          . .          . .  437 

15.  Remedies  for  pains  in  the  stomach          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

16.  Remedies  for  pains  in  the  liver,  and  for  spitting  of  blood        ..  438 

17.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  spleen 439 



CHAP.  Page 

18.  Remedies  for  pains  in  the  side  and  in  the  loins . .         . .          . .  440 

19.  Remedies  for  dysentery     ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..441 

20.  Remedies  for  the  iliac  passion,  and  for  other  maladies  of  the 

bowels 442 

21.  Remedies  for  urinary  calculi  and  affections  of  the  bladder        . .  443 

22.  Remedies  for  diseases  of  the  fundament  and  of  the  generative 

organs    . .          . .         . .          . .         . .          .  •         . .         . .  445 

23.  Remedies  for  gout  and  for  diseases  of  the  feet 446 

24.  Remedies  for  evils  which  are  liable  to  affect  the  whole  body    . .  448 

25.  Remedies  for  cold  shiverings        . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  449 

26.  Remedies  for  paralysis 450 

27.  Remedies  for  epilepsy       . .          . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

28.  Remedies  for  jaundice       . .         . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  452 

29.  Remedies  for  phrenitis      . .         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  ib. 

30.  Remedies  for  fevers           453 

31.  Remedies  for  dropsy          456 

32.  Remedies  for  erysipelas     . .          . .          ib. 

33.  Remedies  for  carbuncles 457 

34.  Remedies  for  boils             . .         . .          . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

35.  Remedies  for  burns           . .          . .          . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

36.  Remedies  for  affections  of  the  sinews      . .         . .          . .         . .  ib. 

37.  Remedies  for  maladies  of  the  nails  and  fingers 458 

38.  Methods  for  arresting  haemorrhage         . .          . .         . .          . .  ib. 

39.  Remedies  for  ulcerous  sores  and  wounds            . .          . .          . .  ib. 

40.  Remedies  for  broken  bones          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  460 

41.  Applications  for  cicatrizations,  and  for  the  cure  of  morphew    . .  461 

42.  Methods  of  extracting  foreign  substances  from  the  body           , .  ib. 

43.  Remedies  for  female  complaints  ..          ..         ..          . .          ..  462 

44.  Methods  of  facilitating  delivery . .  463 

45.  Methods  of  preserving  the  breasts  from  injury 464 

46.  Various  kinds  of  depilatories 465 

47.  Remedies  for  the  diseases  of  infants        ..          ..         ..          ..  ib. 

48.  Provocatives  of  sleep        ..          ..          ..         ..          ..         ..  467 

49.  Aphrodisiacs  and  antaphrodisiacs            . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

50.  Remedies  for  phthiriasis,  and  for  various  other  affections         . .  468 
ol.  Remedies  for  intoxication            ..          ..          ..          ..          ..  ib. 

52.  Peculiarities  relative  to  certain  animals   . .          . .         . .         . .  469 

53.  Other  marvellous  facts  connected  with  animals  . .          . .         . .  ib. 



1.  Remarkable  facts  connected  with  water  ..         ..         ..         ..  471 

2.  The  different  properties  of  waters  472 

?j.  Remedies  derived  from  water       ..          ..          ..  473 

4.  Waters  productive  of  fecundity.     "Waters  curative  of  insanity  474 


CH\P.  Papre 

5.  Waters  remedial  for  urinary  calculi         . .          . .         , .  474 

6.  Waters  curative  of  wounds           . .          . .         . .          . .         . .  475 

7.  Waters  preventive  of  abortion ib. 

8.  Waters  which  remove  morphew  ..         ..          ..         ..         ..  ib. 

9.  Waters  which  colour  the  hair      ..          ..          ..         ..          ..  476 

10.  Waters  which  colour  the  human  body    . .          . .          . .          . .  ib. 

11.  Waters  which  aid  the  memory,  or  are  productive  of  forgetfulness  477 

12.  Waters  which  sharpen  or  dull  the  senses.     Waters  which  im- 

prove the  voice             . .           .          . .         . .          . .          .  ib. 

13.  Waters  which  cause  a  distaste  for  wine.     Waters  which  produce 

inebriety           . .          . .          . .          . .          . .         . .          . .  ih. 

14.  Waters  which  serve  as  a  substitute  for  oil          ..         ..         ..  478 

15.  Salt  and  bitter  waters        ..         ..          ..          ..         ..          ..  ib. 

16.  Waters  which  throw  up  stones.     Waters  which  cause  laughter 

and  weeping.    Waters  which  are  said  to  be  curative  of  love  ib. 

17.  Waters  which  preserve  their  warmth  for  three  days      ..          ..  479 

18.  Other  marvellous  facts  connected  with  water.     Waters  in  which 

everything  will  sink.     Waters  in  which  nothing  will  sink  ib. 

19.  Deadly  waters.     Poisonous  fishes            ..          ..          ..          ..  480 

20.  Waters  which  petrify  themselves,  or  cause  other  objects  to  petrify  482 

21.  The  wholesomeness  of  waters       ..          ..         ..          ..         ..  ib. 

22.  The  impurities  of  water     . .         . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  484 

23.  The  modes  of  testing  water          4^5 

24.  The  Marcian  Waters        487 

25.  The  Virgin  Waters           488 

26.  The  method  of  searching  for  water          . .         . .         . .         . .  ib. 

27.  Signs  indicative  of  the  presence  of  water            . .          . .         . .  489 

28.  Differences  in  waters,  according  to  the  nature  of  the  soil         . .  ib. 

29.  The  qualities  of  water  at  the  different  seasons  of  the  year        ..  491 

30.  Historical  observations  upon  waters  which  have  suddenly  made 

their  appearance  or  suddenly  ceased   . .         . .          . .         . .  492 

31.  The  method  of  conveying  water  ..          ..         ..          ..         ..  494 

32.  How  mineral  waters  should  be  used        ..          ..          . .          _  /#. 

33.  The  uses  of  sea-water.     The  advantages  of  a  sea-voyage          . .  496 

34.  How  artificial  sea- water  may  be  made  in  places  at  a  distance 

from  the  sea 498 

35.  How  thalassomeli  is  made             . .         . .          . .          . .         . .  ib. 

36.  How  hydromeli  is  made    . .          . .          . .         . .         . .          . .  ib. 

37.  Methods  of  providing  against  the  inconvenience  of  drinking  sus- 

pected water      ..          ..         ..          ..         ..          ..          ..  499 

38.  Six  remedies  derived  from  moss.     Remedies  derived  from  sand  ib. 

39.  The  various  kinds  of  suit;  the  methods  of  preparing  it,  and  the 

remedies  derived  from  it.     Two  hundred  and  four  observa- 
tions thereupon            . .         . .          . .         . .          . .          . .  500 

40.  Muria    ^ ..'  503 

41.  The  various  properties  of  salt :  one  hundred  and  twenty  histori- 

cal remarks  relative  thereto 504 

42.  Flower  of  salt :  twenty  remedies.     Salsugo  :  two  remedies     . .  506 

43.  Garum :  fifteen  remedies 507 


CHAP.  Page 

44.  Alex :  eight  remedies       . .          . .         . .         . .         . .         . .  508 

45.  The  nature  of  salt            509 

46.  The  various  kinds  of  nitrum,  the  methods  of  preparing  it,  and 

the  remedies  derived  from  it :  two  hundred  and  twenty-one 
observations  thereon     ..         ..         ..         ..          ..         ..512 

47.  Sponges,  and    the  remedies    derived  from  them:    ninety-two 

observations  thereon  ..         ..      519 





even  are  the  forests  and  the  spots  in  which  the  aspect  of 
Nature  is  most  rugged,  destitute  of  their  peculiar  remedies  ; 
for  so  universally  has  that  divine  parent  of  all  things  distributed 
her  succours  for  the  benefit  of  man,  as  to  implant  for  him 
medicinal  virtues  in  the  trees  of  the  desert  even,  while  at 
every  step  she  presents  us  with  most  wonderful  illustrations  of 
those  antipathies  and  sympathies  which  exist  in  the  vegetable 

Between  the  quercus1  and  the  olive2  there  exists  a  hatred 
so  inveterate,  that  transplanted,  either  of  them,  to  a  site  pre- 
viously occupied  by  the  other,  they  will  die.3  The  quercus 
too,  if  planted  near  the  walnut,  will  perish.  There  is  a  mortal 
feud4  existing  also  between  the  cabbage  and  the  vine  ;  and  the 
cabbage  itself,  so  shunned  as  it  is  by  the  vine,  will  wither  im- 
mediately if  planted  in  the  vicinity  of  cyclamen6  or  of  origanum. 
We  find  it  asserted  even,  that  aged  trees  fit  to  be  felled,  are 
cut  with  all  the  greater  difficulty,  and  dry  all  the  more  rapidly, 

1  See  B.  xvi.  cc.  6,  8,  33,  50.  2  See  B.  xvii.  c.  3. 

3  As  Fee  justly  remarks,  the  greater  part  of  these  so-called  sympathies 
and  antipathies  must  be  looked  upon  as  so  many  fables.     In  the  majority  of 
instances,  it  is  the  habitual  requirements  of  the  tree  or  plant  that  con- 
stitute the  difference  ;  thus,  for  instance,  the  oak  or  quercus  requires  a 
different  site  and  temperature  from  that  needed  by  the  olive,  and  the  stony 
soil  adopted  by  the  vine  is  but  ill-suited  for  the  cultivation  of  the  cabbage. 

4  See  B.  xx.  c.  36. 

5  See  B.  xxi,  cc.  27,  38,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  67. 

VOL.  V.  B 

2  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.       [Book  XXiV. 

if  touched  by  the  hand  of  man  before  the  axe  is  applied  :  it 
is  a  common  belief,  too,  that  when  their  load  consists  of  fruit, 
beasts  of  burden  are  immediately  sensible 6  of  it,  and  will  in- 
stantly begin  to  sweat,  however  trifling  it  may  be,  unless  the 
fruit  is  duly  shown  to  them  before  starting,  fennel-giant,  as 
a  fodder,  is  extremely  grateful  to  the  ass,  and  yet  to  other  beasts 
of  burden  it  is  a  deadly  poison  :  hence  it  is  that  the  ass  is  con- 
secrated to  Father  Liber,7  to  which  deity  the  fennel  is  also 

Inanimate  objects  again,  even  of  the  most  insignificant 
character,  have  their  own  peculiar  antipathies.  Cooks  dis- 
engage meat  of  the  brine,  when  it  has  been  too  highly  salted, 
by  the  agency  of  fine  meal  and  the  inner  bark8  of  the  linden- 
tree.  Salt  again,  tends  to  neutralize  the  sickly  flavour  of  food 
when  over- sweet.  The  taste  of  water,  when  nitrous  or  bitter, 
is  modified  by  the  addition  of  polenta,9  so  much  so  indeed,  as 
to  be  rendered  potable10  in  a  couple  of  hours  :  it  is  for  a  similar 
reason,  too,  that  a  layer  of  polenta  is  put11  in  our  linen  wine- 
strainers.  A  similar  property  is  possessed  also  by  the  chalk12 
of  Ehodes,  and  the  argilla  of  our  own  country. 

Equal  affinities  exist  as  well ;  pitch,  for  instance,  is  extracted 
by  the  agency  of  oil,  both  of  them  being  of  an  unctuous  nature  : 
oil  again,  will  incorporate  only  with  lime,  both  of  them  having 
a  natural  antipathy13  to  water.  Gum  is  most14  easily  removed 
with  vinegar,  and  ink15  with  water;  in  addition  to  which,  there 

6  See  the  same  statement  made  in  B.  xxiii.  c.  62. 

7  Or  Bacchus. 

8  "  Philyra."     Fee  does  not  think  that  it  can  be  of  any  use  for  such  a 
purpose.     Hardouin  says,  however,  that  in  his  time  meat  when  too  highly 
salted  was  wrapped  in  leaves  of  the  lime  or  linden,  for  the  purpose  of  ex- 
tracting the  salt.  .        9  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

10  Instead  of  having  this  effect.  Fee  says,  it  would  render  it  much  worse. 

11  The  intention  being  to  clear  the  wine,  though  in  reality,  as  Fee  ob- 
serves, it  would  have  a  tendency  to  turn  the  wine  into  vinegar. 

12  Chalk,  or  in  other  words,  sub-carbonate  of  lime,  and    argilla,  or 
aluminous  earth  combining  several  earthy  salts,  would  probably  neutralize 
the  acetic  acid  in  the  wine,  but  would  greatly  deteriorate  its  flavour, 

18  On  the  contrary,  lime  would  appear  to  have  a  great  affinity  for  water, 
absorbing  it  with  avidity,  if  we  may  use  the  term. 

14  More  easily  with  water  ;  though  vinegar  will  do  for  the  purpose. 

15  "  Atramentum."     By  this  passage,  Fee  says,  it  is  clearly  proved  that 
the  ink  of  the  ancients  was  soluble  in  water,  and  that  it  contained  neither 
galls  nor  salts  of  iron,    "What  it  really  was  made  of  is  still  a  matter  of 

Chap.  2.]  THE    LOTUS    OF   ITALY.  3 

are  numberless  other  instances  of  sympathy  and  antipathy 
which  we  shall  be  careful  to  mention  in  their  appropriate  places. 

It  is  in  tendencies  of  this  description  that  the  medical  art 
iirst  took  its  rise ;  though  it  was  originally  intended,  no  doubt, 
by  Nature,  that  our  only  medicaments  should  be  those  which 
universally  exist,  are  everywhere  to  be  found,  and  are  to  be 
procured  at  no  great  outlay,  the  various  substances,  in  fact,  from 
which  we  derive  our  sustenance.  But  at  a  later  period  the 
fraudulent  disposition  of  mankind,  combined  with  an  ingenuity 
prompted  by  lucre,  invented  those  various  laboratories,16  in 
which  each  one  of  us  is  promised  an  extension  of  his  life — that 
is,  if  he  will  pay  for  it.  Compositions  and  mixtures  of  an  in- 
explicable nature  forthwith  have  their  praises  sung,  and  the 
productions  of  Arabia  and  India  are  held  in  unbounded  ad- 
miration in  the  very  midst17  of  us.  For  some  trifling 
sore  or  other,  a  medicament  is  prescribed  from  the  shores 
of  the  Red  Sea ;  while  not  a  day  passes  but  what  the  real 
remedies  are  to  be  found  upon  the  tables  of  the  very  poorest 
man  among  us.18  But  if  the  remedies  for  diseases  were 
derived  from  our  own  gardens,  if  the  plants  or  shrubs  were 
employed  which  grow  there,  there  would  be  no  art,  forsooth, 
that  would  rank  lower  than  that  of  medicine. 

Yes,  avow  it  we  must — the  Roman  people,  in  extending  its 
empire,  has  lost  sight  of  its  ancient  manners,  and  in  that  we 
have  conquered  we  are  the  conquered:19  for  now  we  obey  the 
natives  of  foreign20  lands,  who  by  the  agency  of  a  single  art  have 
even  out-generalled  our  generals.21  More,  however,  on  this 
topic  hereafter. 

CHAP.    2.    (.2.) THE   LOTUS    OF   ITALY  :    SIX    KEMEDIES. 

We  have  already22  spoken  in  their  appropriate  places  of  the 

doubt ;  but  it  is  not  improbable  that  the  basis  of  it  was  spodium,  or  ashes 
of  ivory.  16  "  Officinas." 

17  "In  medio."     The  reading  is  very  doubtful  here. 

8  This,  of  course,  is  mere  exaggeration. 

19  He  would  seem  to  imply  that  the  medical  men  of  his  age  had  conspired 
to  gain  an  adventitious  importance  by  imposing  upon  the  credulity  of  the 
public,  on  the  principle  "  Omne  ignotuin  pro  magnifico ;"  much  as  the 
u  medicine-men  "  of  the  North  American  Indians  do  at  the  present  day. 

20  He  alludes  to  the  physicians  of  Greece  more  particularly. 
"  Imperatoribus  quoque  imperaverunt." 

23  In  B.  xiii.  c.  32,  and  B.  xvi.  c.  53.  Pliny  ascribes  here  to  the  Lotus  of 
Italy,  the  Celtis  Australia  of  Linnaeus,  the  same  medicinal  properties  that 

B  2 

4  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.          [Book  XXIV. 

herb  called  lotus,  and  of  the  plant  of  Egypt  known  by  the 
same  name  and  as  the  "  tree  of  the  Syrtes."  The  berries  of 
the  lotus,  which  is  known  among  us  as  the  "  Grecian  bean,"23 
act  astringently  upon  the  bowels ;  and  the  shavings  of  the  wood, 
boiled  in  wine,  are  useful  in  cases  of  dysentery,  excessive 
menstruation,  vertigo,  and  epilepsy:  they  also  prevent  the 
hair  from  falling  off.  It  is  a  marvellous  thing — but  there  is  no 
substance  known  that  is  more  bitter  than  the  shavings  of  this 
wood,  or  sweeter  than  the  fruit.  The  sawdust  also  of  the 
wood  is  boiled  in  myrtle- water,  and  then  kneaded  and  divided 
into  lozenges,  which  form  a  medicament  for  dysentery  of  re- 
markable utility,  being  taken  in  doses  of  one  victoriatus,24  in 
three  cyathi  of  water. 

CHAP.    3.    (3.) ACORNS  I    THIRTEEN    REMEDIES. 

Acorns,25  pounded  with  salted  axle-grease,25*  are  curative  of 
those  indurations  known  as  "  cacoethe."26  The  acorn  of  the 
holm-oak,  however,  is  the  most  powerful  in  its  effects  ;  and 
in  all  these  trees  the  bark  is  still  more  efficacious,  as  well  as 
the  inner  membrane  which  lies  beneath  it.  A  decoction  of 
this  last  is  good  for  coeliac  affections ;  and  it  is  applied  topically 
in  cases  of  dysentery,  as  well  as  the  acorns,  which  are  em- 
ployed also  for  the  treatment  of  stings  inflicted  by  serpents, 
fluxes,  and  suppurations.  The  leaves,  acorns,  and  bark,  as 
well  as  a  decoction  prepared  from  them,  are  good  as  counter- 
poisons.  A  decoction  of  the  barkr  boiled  in  cows'  milk,  is 
used  topically  for  stings  inflicted  by  serpents,  and  is  adminis- 
tered in  wine  for  dysentery.  The  holm-oak  is  possessed  of 
similar  properties. 

CHAP.    4.    (4.) THE    KERMES-BERRY    OF    THE    HOLM-OAK  :    THREE 


The  scarlet  berry27  of   the    holm-oak  is  applied  to  fresh 

are  given  by  Dioscorides,  B.  i.  c.  171,  to  the  Egyptian  bean  or  Nymphsea 
Nelumbo  of  Linnaeus.  Galen  gives  the  same  account  as  Dioscorides ;  it 
is  not  improbable,  therefore,  that  Pliny  is  in  error. 

23  See  B.  xvi.  c.  53,  Note  55. 

24  Half  a  denarius.     See  Introduction  to  Vol.  III. 

25  Acorns,  as  well  as  the  bark  of  the  various  kinds  of  oak,  are  of  an 
astringent  nature.  25*  Or,  hogs'  lard. 

26  In  the  singular  number,  "  cacoethes,"  "  a  bad  habit ;"  signifying  a 
malignant  or  cancerous  tumour. 

27  See  B.  xvi.  c.  12.     All  the  properties  here  ascribed  to  it,  Fee  says, 

Chap.  6.J  MISTLETOE. 

wounds  with  vinegar ;  and  in  combination  with  water  it  is 
dropt  into  ths  eyes  in  cases  of  defluxion  of  those  organs  or 
of  ecchymosis.  There  grows  also  in  most  parts  of  Attica,  and 
in  Asia,  a  berry  of  this  description,  which  becomes  transformed 
with  great  rapidity  into  a  diminutive  worm,  owing  to  which 
circumstance  the  Greeks  have  given  it  the  name  of  "  sco- 
lecion  :"28  it  is  held,  however,  in  disesteem.  The  principal 
varieties  of  this  berry  have  been  previously29  described. 


And  no  fewer  are  the  varieties  of  the  gall-nut  which  we 
have  described  :30  we  have,  for  instance,  the  full-bodied  gall- 
nut,  the  perforated  one,  the  white,  the  black,  the  large,  the 
small,  all  of  them  possessed  of  similar  properties  ;  that,  how- 
ever, of  Commagene  is  generally  preferred.  These  substances 
remove  fleshy  excrescences  on  the  body,  and  are  serviceable  for 
affections  of  the  gums  and  uvula,31  and  for  ulcerations  of  the 
mouth.  Eurnt,  and  then  quenched  in.  wine,  they  are  applied 
topically  in  cases  of  cceliac  affections  and  dysentery,  and  with 
honey,  to  whitlows,  hang-nails,  malformed  nails,  running  ulcers, 
condylomatous  swellings,  and  ulcerations  of  the  nature  known  as 
phagedsenic.32  A  decoction  of  them  in  wine  is  used  as  an  injection 
for  the  ears,  and  as  a  liniment  for  the  eyes,  and  in  combination 
with  vinegar  they  are  employed  for  eruptions  and  tumours. 

The  inner  part  of  the  gall,  chewed,  allays  tooth-ache,  and  is 
good  for  excoriations  between  the  thighs,  and  for  burns.  Taken 
unripe  in  vinegar,  they  reduce  the  volume  of  the  spleen ;  and, 
burnt  and  then  quenched  in  salt  and  vinegar,  they  are  used  as 
a  fomentation  for  excessive  menstruation  and  procidence  of 
the  uterus.  All  varieties  of  the  gall-nut  stain  the  hair  black. 


We  have  already33  stated  that  the  best  mistletoe  is  that 
which  grows  on  the  robur,34  and  have  described  the  manner  in 

are  hypothetical.  It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine,  at  least  to  any  re- 
cognized extent. 

28  Hence  the  Latin  word  "  vermiculum,"  from  which  our  word  "  ver- 
milion "  is  derived. 

29  In  B.  xvi.  c.  12.  30  In  B.  xvi.  c.  9. 

31  They  might  he  used  advantageously,  Fee  thinks,  in  the  shape  of  a 
decoction,  for  procidence  of  the  uvula  and  uterus. 

aa  "  Eating,"  or  "corrosive."  aa  See  B.  xvi.  cc.  11,  93,  94. 

31  SeeB.  xvi.  cc,  10,  11. 

6  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 

which,  it  is  prepared.  Some  persons,  after  bruising  the  berries, 
boil  them  in  water,  till  nothing  appears  on  the  surface,  while 
others,  again,  bite  the  berries  with  the  teeth,  and  reject  the 
skins.35  The  best  kind  of  viscus  is  that  which  has  none  of 
the  outer  skin  in  it,  is  extremely  light,  yellow  without,  and 
of  a  leek-green  colour  within.  There  is  no  substance  more 
glutinous  than  this :  it  is  of  an  emollient  nature,  disperses 
tumours,  and  acts  as  a  desiccative  upon  scrofulous  sores ;  com- 
bined with  resin  and  wax,  it  heals  inflamed  swellings  of  every 
description.  Some  persons  add  galbanum  as  well,  using  equal 
proportions  of  each  ingredient,  and  this  preparation  they  em- 
ploy also  for  the  treatment  of  wounds. 

The  viscus  of  the  mistletoe  has  the  additional  property  also 
of  rectifying  malformed  nails ;  but  to  effect  this  it  must  be 
taken  off  at  the  end  of  seven  days,  and  the  nails  must  be 
washed  with  a  solution  of  nitre.35*  Some  persons  have  a  sort  of 
superstitious  notion  that  the  viscus  will  be  all  the  more  effi- 
cacious if  the  berries  are  gathered  from  the  robur  at  new  moon, 
and  without  the  aid  of  iron.  They  have  an  impression  too, 
that  if  it  has  not  touched  the  ground,  it  will  cure  epilepsy,36 
that  it  will  promote  conception  in  females  if  they  make  a 
practice  of  carrying  it  about  them :  the  berries,  chewed  and 
applied  to  ulcers,  are  remarkably  efficacious  for  their  cure,  it  is 

CHAP.    7. THE     EXCRESCENCES     WHICH     GROW    ON    THE    ROBUR  : 


The  round  excrescences37  which  grow  on  the  robur  *  *  * 
and  mixed  with  bear's  grease,  are  remedial  in  cases  of  loss  of 
the  hair  by  alopecy. 

The  leaves,  bark,  and  acorns  of  the  cerrus38  act  as  a  desic- 
cative upon  gatherings  and  suppurations,  and  arrest  fluxes.  A 
decoction39  of  them,  used  as  a  fomentation,  strengthens  such 
parts  of  the  body  as  are  paralyzed ;  and  it  is  a  very  good  plan 

:35^  This  passage,  as  Fee  remarks,  is  somewhat  obscure. 
5*  As  to  the  identity  of  the  "  nitrum"  of  Pliny,  see  B.  xxxi.  cc.  22, 46. 

36  Fee  says,  that  till  very  recently  it  was  a  common  belief  that  the  oak 
mistletoe  is  curative  of  epilepsy.     It  was  also  employed  as  an  ingredient 
in  certain  antispasmodic  powders. 

37  See  B.  xvi.  c.  10.  as  gee  j^  xvf.  c,  8> 

!9  This  decoction  would  be  of  a  tonic  and  astringent  nature,  owing  to 
the  tannin  and  gallic  acid  which  the  leaves  and  baric  contain. 

Chap.  10.]  THE    CYPRESS.  7 

to  employ  it  as  a  sitting-bath,  for  its  desiccative  or  astringent 
effects  upon  the  lower  extremities.  The  root  of  this  tree 
neutralizes  the  venom  of  the  scorpion. 


The  bark  of  the  cork-tree,40  pulverized  and  taken  in  warm 
water,  arrests  haemorrhage  at  the  mouth  and  nostrils  ;41  and 
the  ashes  of  it,  taken  in  warm  wine,  are  highly  extolled  as  a 
cure  for  spitting  of  blood. 


The  leaves42  of  the  beech  are  chewed  for  affections  of  the 
lips  and  gums.  A  liniment  is  made  of  the  ashes  of  beech- 
mast  for  urinary  calculus,  and,  in  combination  with  honey,  for 


The  leaves  of  the  cypress43  are  pounded  and  applied  to 
wounds  inflicted  by  serpents,  and  with  polenta,  to  the  head,  in 
cases  of  sunstroke.  They  are  used  also  for  hernia,  and  an  infu- 
sion of  them  is  taken  in  drink.44  They  are  applied  with  wax  to 
swellings  of  the  testes,  and  mixed  with  vinegar  they  stain  the 
hair  black.46  Beaten  up  with  twice  the  quantity  of  light 
bread,  and  then  kneaded  with  Aminean46  wine,  they  are  found 
very  soothing  for  pains  in  the  feet  and  sinews. 

The  excrescences  of  this  tree  are  taken  in  drink  for  the 
stings  of  serpents  and  for  discharges  of  blood  from  the  mouth  ; 
they  are  used  also  as  a  topical  application  for  gatherings. 
Fresh-gathered  and  beaten  up  with  axle-grease  and  bean- 
meal,  they  are  good  for  hernia ;  and  an  infusion  of  them  is 

40  See  B.  xvi,  c.  13.  41  "Ex  utralibet  parte." 

42  There  is  no  foundation,  Fee  says,  for  any  of  these  statements. 

43  See  13.  xvi.  c.  60.     The  leaves  of  the  cypress,  Fee  says,  contain  tan- 
nin and  an  essential  oil ;  all  the  medicinal  properties  therefore,  here  attri- 
buted to  them,  which  are  not  based  upon  these  principles,  must  be  looked 
upon  as  hypothetical. 

44  Down  to  the  present  century  the  leaves  and  fruit  of  the  cypress  were 
recommended  in  some  medical  works  for  the  cure  of  hernia.     The  juice, 
however,  of  the  leaves,  taken  internally,  would  be,  as  Fee  says,  highly 

45  Owing  probably  to  the  gallic  acid  they  contain. 
*6  See  13.  xiv.  c.  4. 

8  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 

taken  in  drink  for  the  same  complaint.  In  combination  with 
meal,  they  are  applied  topically  to  imposthumes  of  the  parotid 
glands,  and  to  scrofulous  sores.  From  these  excrescences, 
pounded  along  with  the  seed,  a  juice  is  extracted,  which,  mixed 
with  oil,  disperses  films  of  the  eyes.  Taken  in  doses  of  one 
victoriatus,47  in  wine,  and  applied  at  the  same  time  in  a  pulpy, 
dried  fig,  the  seeds  of  which  have  been  removed,  this  juice 
cures  maladies  of  the  testes  and  disperses  tumours:  mixed 
with  leaven,  it  heals  scrofulous  sores. 

The  root  of  the  cypress,  bruised  with  the  leaves  and  taken 
in  drink,  is  curative  of  diseases  of  the  bladder,  strangury,  and 
the  sting  of  the  phalangium.48  The  shavings  of  the  wood, 
taken  in  drink,  act  as  an  emmenagogue,  and  neutralize  the 
venom  of  the  scorpion. 


The  larger  cedar,  known  as  the  "cedrelates,"49  produces  a 
pitch  called  "  cedria,"  which  is  very  useful  for  tooth-ache,  it 
having  the  effect  of  breaking50  the  teeth  and  extracting  them, 
and  so  allaying  the  pain.1  We  have  already51  stated  how  the 
juices  of  cedar  are  extracted,  so  remarkably  useful  for 
seasoning  books,52  were  it  not  for  the  head-ache  they  produce. 
This  extract  from  the  cedar  preserves53  the  bodies  of  the 
dead  uncorrupted  for  ages,  but  exercises  a  noxious  effect  upon 
the  bodies  of  the  living — singular  that  there  should  be  such  a 
diversity  in  its  properties,  taking  away  life  from  animated 

47  See  Introduction  to  Vol.  III. 

48  See  B.  x.  c.  28,  and  B.  xi.  cc.  24,  28.  49  See  B.  xiii.  c.  11. 

50  Fee  remarks,  that  many  of  the  moderns  attribute  to  frankincense  the 
properties  here  ascribed  to  cedria ;  a  most  unfounded  notion,  he  thinks. 

51  In  B.  xiv.  c,  25,  and  B.  xvi.  cc.  21,  22. 

52  Sillig  reads  "  volumina ;"  in  which  case  it  is  not  improbable  that  the 
allusion  is  to  the  practice  of  seasoning  the  paper  of  manuscripts  with  a 
preparation  of  cedar,  as  a  preservative  against  mildew  and  worms.     An- 
other reading  is  "  lumina,"  and  it  is  not  impossible  that  it  is  the  right  one, 
meaning  that  pitch  of  cedar  is  useful  for  making  lamps  or  candles.     Fee 
reminds  us  that  we  are  not  to  confound  the  "  cedria  "  with  the  "  eedrium  " 
of  B.  xvi.  c.  21,  though  Pliny  seems  here  to  confound  the  two.    See  Note 
38  to  that  Chapter. 

53  As  in  B.  xvi.  c.  21,  he  has  said  the  same  of  "eedrium,"  a  red  tar 
charged  with  empyreumatic  oil,  it  is  clear  that  he  erroneously  identifies  it 
with  "  cedria,"  or  pitch  of  cedar.     It  is  with  this  last,  in  reality,  that  the 
Egyptians  embalmed  the  dead,  or  rather  preserved  them,  by  dipping  them 
in  the  boiling  liquid. 

Chap.  12.]  CEDIITDES.  9 

beings,  and  imparting  a  sort  of  life,  as  it  were,  to  the  dead  ! 
It  injures  clothing  also  and  destroys54  animal  life.  It  is  for 
this  reason  that  I  cannot  recommend  it  to  be  taken  internally  for 
the  cure  of  quinzy  and  indigestion,  though  there  are  some  who 
advise  it :  I  should  be  greatly  in  dread  too,  to  rinse  the  teeth 
with  it,  in  combination  with  vinegar,  for  tooth-ache,  or  to  use 
it  as  an  injection  for  the  ears  in  cases  of  hardness  of  hearing,  or 
for  worms  in  those  organs.  There  is  one  very  marvellous  story 
told  about  it — if  the  male  organs,  they  say,  are  rubbed  with  it 
j  ust  before  the  sexual  congress,  it  will  effectually  prevent  im- 

Still,  however,  I  should  not  hesitate  to  employ  it  as  a  fric- 
tion for  phthiriasis  or  porrigo.  It  is  strongly  recommended 
also,  in  raisin  wine,  as  an  antidote  to  the  poison  of  the  sea- 
hare,56  but  I  should  be  more  ready  to  use  it  as  a  liniment  for 
elephantiasis.  Some  authors  have  prescribed  it  as  an  oint- 
ment for  foul  ulcers  and  the  fleshy  excrescences  which  grow 
in  them,  as  also  for  spots  and  films  on  the  eyes ;  and  have  re- 
commended it  to  be  taken,  in  doses  of  one  cyathus,  for  ulcera- 
tions  of  the  lungs,  and  for  tapeworm. 

There  is  an  oil  extracted  from  this  pitch,  known  as  "  pis- 
selaeon,"87  the  properties  of  which  are  of  increased  activity 
for  all  the  purposes  before-mentioned.  It  is  a  well-known 
fact  that  the  saw-dust  of  cedar  will  put  serpents  to  flight, 
and  that  a  similar  effect  is  produced  by  anointing  the  body 
with  the  berries58  bruised  in  oil. 


Cedrides,  or  in  other  words,  the  fruit  of  the  cedar,59  is 
curative  of  coughs,  acts  as  a  diuretic,  and  arrests  looseness  of 
the  bowels.  It  is  good  also  for  ruptures,  convulsions, 
spasms,  and  strangury,  and  is  employed,  as  a  pessary,  for 
affections  of  the  uterus.  It  is  used  also  to  neutralize  the 

54  If  he  implies  that  it  is  poisonous,  such  in  reality  is  not  the  case. 

55  A  mere  absurdity,  of  course. 

56  It  would  be  of  no  use  whatever  for  the  cure  of  injuries  inflicted  by 
the  Aplysia  vulgaris  or  Aplysia  depilans  of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  ix.  c.  72,  and 
B.  xxxii.  c.  3. 

57  See  B.  xv.  c.  7,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  22.     "  Pitch  oil,"  a  volatile  oil. 

58  This  mention  of  the  berries  clearly  proves,  Fee  thinks,  that  the  Cedre- 
lates  of  Pliny  belongs  in  reality  to  the  genus  Juniperus. 

59  Or  of  the  juniper,  Fee  thinks. 

10  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 

venom  of  the  sea-hare,60  and  for  the  cure  of  the  various  affections 
above-mentioned,  as  also  of  gatherings  and  inflammations. 


We  have  already61  given  some  description  of  galbanum  :  to 
be  good,  it  should  be  neither  too  moist  nor  too  dry,  but  just  in 
the  state  which  we  have  mentioned.63  It  is  taken  by  itself 
for  inveterate  coughs,  asthma,  ruptures,  and  convulsions  ;  and 
it  is  employed  externally  for  sciatica,  pains  in  the  sides,  inflamed 
tumours,63  boils,  denudations  of  the  bones,  scrofulous  sores, 
nodes  upon  the  joints,  and  tooth-ache.  It  is  applied  with 
honey  also,  to  ulcerations  of  the  head.  In  combination  with 

011  of  roses  or  with  nard,  it  is  used  as  an  injection  for  sup- 
purations of  the  ears ;  and  the  odour  of  it  is  useful  for  epilepsy, 
hysterical  suffocations,  and  faintness  at  the  stomach.     Em- 
ployed as  a  pessary  or  as  a  fumigation,  it  brings  away   the 
foetus  in  cases   of   miscarriage;    branches  too  of    hellebore 
covered  with  it  and  laid  beneath  the  patient,  have  a  similar 

We  have  already64  stated  that  serpents  are  driven  away  by 
the  fumes  of  burnt  galbanum,  and  they  will  equally  avoid 
persons  whose  body  has  been  rubbed  with  it.  It  is  curative 
also  of  the  sting  of  the  scorpion.  In  protracted  deliveries,  a 
piece  of  galbanum  the  size  of  a  bean  is  given  in  one  cyathus 
of  wine  :  it  has  the  effect  also  of  reducing  the  uterus  when 
displaced,  and,  taken  with  myrrh  and  wine,  it  brings  away 
the  dead  foetus.  In  combination  with  myrrh  and  wine  too, 
it  neutralizes  poisons  —  those  which  come  under  the  de- 
nomination of  "toxica"65  in  particular.  The  very  touch 
of  it,  mixed  with  oil  and  spondylium,66  is  sufficient  to 
kill  a  serpent.67  It  is  generally  thought  to  be  productive  of 

60  See  Note  56  above.  61  In  B.  xii.  c.  56. 

62  Cartilaginous,  clear,  and  free  from  ligneous  substances. 

63  It  is  still  employed,  Fee  says,  to  a  small  extent,  as  a  topical  application 
for  ulcerated  sores.     Its  properties  are  energetic,  but  nearly  all  the  uses  to 
which  Pliny  speaks  of  it  as  being  applied  are  hypothetical. 

64  In  B.  xii.  c.  56.  65  Narcotic  poisons. 

66  See  B.  xii.  c.  58.     See  also  c.  16  of  this  Book. 

67  This  statement  is  entirely  fabulous. 

Chap.  15.]  STORAX.  H 


Of  a  similar  nature  to  galbanum  is  hammoniacum,  a  tear- 
like  gum,  the  qualities  of  which  are  tested  in  manner  already68 
stated.  It  is  of  an  emollient,  warming,  resolvent,  and  dis- 
pellent  nature.  Employed  as  an  ingredient  in  eye- salves,  it 
improves  the  sight.  It  disperses  prurigo,  effaces  the  marks  of 
sores,  removes  spots  in  the  eyes,  and  allays  tooth- ache,  more 
particularly  when  burnt.  It  is  very  useful  too,  taken  in 
drink,  for  hardness  of  breathing,  pleurisy,  affections  of  the 
lungs,  diseases  of  the  bladder,  bloody  urine,  maladies  of  the 
spleen,  and  sciatica :  employed  in  a  similar  manner,  it  acts  as 
a  purgative  upon  the  bowels.  Boiled  with  an  equal  proportion 
of  pitch  or  wax,  and  with  oil  of  roses,  it  is  good  for  diseases  of 
the  joints,  and  for  gout.  Employed  with  honey  it  ripens  hard 
tumours,  extracts  corns,  and  has  an  emollient  effect  upon  in- 
durations. In  combination  with  vinegar  and  Cyprian  wax, 
or  oil  of  roses,  it  is  extremely  efficacious  as  a  liniment  for 
affections  of  the  spleen.  In  cases  of  extreme  lassitude,  it  is 
an  excellent  plan  to  use  it  as  a  friction,  with  vinegar  and  oil, 
and  a  little  nitre. 


In  speaking  too  of  the  exotic  trees,  we  have  made  mention69  of 
the  properties  of  storax.  In  addition  to  those  which  we  have 
already  mentioned,  it  ought  to  be  very  unctuous,  without  alloy, 
and  to  break  to  pieces  in  whitish  fragments.  This  substance  is 
curative  of  cough,  affections  of  the  fauces,  diseases  of  the  chest, 
and  obstructions  or  indurations  of  the  uterus.  Taken  in  drink, 
or  employed  as  a  pessary,  it  acts  as  an  emmenagogue  ;  it  has  a 
laxative  effect  also  upon  the  bowels.  I  find  it  stated  that,  taken 
in  moderate  doses,  storax  dispels  melancholy;  but  that  when  em- 
ployed in  large  quantities,  it  promotes  it.  Used  as  an  injection 
it  is  good  for  singings  in  the  ears,  and  employed  as  a  friction, 
for  scrofulous  swellings  and  nodes  of  the  sinews.  It  neutra- 
lizes poisons  of  a  cold  nature,  and  consequently,  hemlock.70 

68  In  B.  xii.  c.  49.     Gum  ammoniac  is  still  used  to  some  small  extent 
in  modern  medicine,  for  asthma,  boils,  tumours,  and  diseases  of  the  bladder. 

69  In  B.  xii.  c.  55.     Fee  says  that  it  is  of  the  Araygdalite  storax  that 
Pliny  is  here  speaking.      It  is  little  employed  at  the  present  day  for  in- 
ternal maladies. 

•°  This  is  not  the  fact. 

12  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXIV. 


At  the  same  time  we  have  also  spoken71  of  spondylium  ;  an 
infusion  of  which  is  poured  upon  the  head  in  cases  of  phrenitis 
and  lethargy,  and  of  head-ache  of  long  standing.  Combined 
with  old  oil,  it  is  taken  in  drink  for  affections  of  the  liver, 
jaundice,  epilepsy,  hardness  of  breathing,  and  hysterical 
suffocations,  maladies  for  which  it  is  equally  serviceable  in  the 
shape  of  a  fumigation.  It  relaxes  the  bowels,  and  with  rue  it 
is  applied  to  ulcers  of  a  serpiginous  nature.  The  juice  which 
is  extracted  from  the  blossom  is  a  most  useful  injection  for 
suppurations  of  the  ears ;  but  the  moment  it  is  extracted  it 
should  be  covered  up,  as  flies  and  other  insects  of  a  similar 
nature  are  remarkably  fond  of  it. 

Scrapings  of  the  root,  introduced  into  the  interior  of  fistulas, 
have  a  caustic  effect  upon  their  callosities  ;  and  they  are  some- 
times used,  in  combination  with  the  juice,  as  an  injection  for 
the  ears.  The  root  itself  also  is  prescribed  for  jaundice,  and 
for  diseases  of  the  liver  and  uterus.  If  the  head  is  rubbed 
with  the  juice,  it  will  make  the  hair  curl.72 


Sphagnos,  sphacos,  or  bryon,  grows,  as  we  have  already73 
stated,  in  Gaul.  A  decoction  of  it,  employed  as  a  sitting-bath, 
is  useful  for  affections  of  the  uterus  :  mixed  with  nasturtium, 
and  beaten  up  in  salt  water,  it  is  good  for  the  knees  and  for 
swellings  in  the  thighs.  Taken  in  drink  with  wine  and  dried 
resin,  it  acts  very  powerfully  as  a  diuretic.  Pounded  in  wine 
with  juniper  berries,  and  taken  in  drink,  it  draws  off  the  water 
in  dropsy. 


The  leaves  and  root  of  the  terebinth74  are  used  as  applica- 

71  In  B.  xii.  c.  58.     It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine,  though  possessed 
of  properties  of  considerable  energy.     Fee  says  that  most  of  the  assertions 
here  made  respecting  it  are  unfounded. 

72  An  absurdity,  Fee  remarks. 

73  In  B.  xii.  c.  50.     Various  lichens  probably  were  called  by  this  name. 
No  use  is  made  of  them  in  modern  medicine. 

74  See  B.  xiii.  c.  12.     The  leaves  and  root  of  the  terebinth  or  turpentine- 
tree  have  some  medicinal  properties,  owing  to  their  resin  or  essential  oil; 
but  no  use  is  made  of  them  in  modern  medicine. 

Chap.  20.]  THE    CHAMJEPITYS.  13 

tions  for  gatherings  ;  and  a  decoction  of  them  is  strengthening 
to  the  stomach.  The  seed  of  it  is  taken  in  wine  for  head-ache 
and  strangury  :  it  is  slightly  laxative  to  the  bowels,  and  acts 
as  an  aphrodisiac. 


The  leaves  of  the  pitch-tree75  and  the  larch,76  beaten  up 
and  boiled  in  vinegar,  are  good  for  tooth-ache.  The  ashes  of 
the  bark  are  used  for  excoriations  and  burns.  Taken  in  drink 
this  substance  arrests  diarrhoea,  and  acts  as  a  diuretic ;  and 
used  as  a  fumigation,  it  reduces  the  uterus  when  displaced. 
The  leaves  of  the  pitch- tree  are  particularly  good  for  the  liver, 
taken  in  doses  of  one  drachma  in  hydromel. 

It  is  a  well-known  fact  that  forests  planted  solely  with  trees 
from  which  pitch  and  resin  are  extracted,  are  remarkably 
beneficial  for  patients  suffering  from  phthisis,77  or  who  are  un- 
able to  recover  their  strength  after  a  long  illness :  indeed  it  is 
said,  that  in  such  cases  to  breathe  the  air  of  localities  thus 
planted,  is  more  beneficial  even  than  to  take  a  voyage  to  Egypt,78 
or  to  go  on  a  summer's  journey  to  the  mountains  to  drink  the 
milk  there,  impregnated  with  the  perfumes  of  plants. 


The  chamaepitys,79  called  in  Latin  "  abiga,"80  because  it 
promotes  abortion,  and  known  to  some  as  "  incense  of  the 
earth,"81  has  branches  a  cubit  in  length,  and  the  odour  and 

75  See  B.  xvi.  c.  18. 

76  See  B,  xvi.  c.  19.    The   leaves  of  these  trees  are  of  an  astringent 
and  acid  nature,  Fee  says,  but  they  are  no  longer  employed  in  medicine. 
All  that  Pliny  here  states  relative  to  them  is  very  problematical. 

77  Fee  says  that  it  is  still  the  practice  of  the  Turkish  physicians  to  re- 
commend to  their  patients  the  air  of  the  cypress  groves  of  Candia.     He 
states  also,  that  it  is  a  very  general  supposition  that  resins,  balms,  and  bal- 
sams are  good  for  pulmonary  phthisis,  but  is  of  opinion  that  the  notion  is 
founded  upon  no  solid  basis. 

78  See  B.  xxxi.  c.  33,  also  Celsus,  B.  iii.  c.  22.      Similar  to  a  voyage  to 
Madeira,  recommended  to  our  consumptive  patients  at  the  present  day. 

78  Or  "ground-pine." 

80  From  "abigo,"  to  "drive  away,"  it  would  appear. 

81  <;  Thus  terrae."     The  Teucrinm  Iva  of  Linnaeus,  Fee  says,  or  Chamae- 
pitys moschata.    Fee  remarks  that  Pliny  commits  a  great  error  in  giving  to 
it  the  blossoms  of  the  pine,  and  that  he  assigns  larger  proportions  than  really 
belong  to  it.     The  name  "  incense  of  the  earth,"  is  very  inappropriate ;  for 
it  has  none  of  the  odour  of  incense,  but  merely  a  resinous  smell. 


blossoms  of  the  pine.  Another  variety82  of  it,  which  is  some- 
what shorter,  has  all  the  appearance  of  being  bent83  down- 
wards ;  and  there  is  a  third,84  which,  though  it  has  a  similar 
smell,  and  consequently  the  same  name,  is  altogether  smaller, 
with  a  stem  the  thickness  of  one's  finger,  and  a  diminutive, 
rough,  pale  leaf :  it  is  found  growing  in  rocky  localities.  All 
these  varieties  are  in  reality  herbaceous  productions ;  but  in 
consequence  of  the  resemblance  of  the  name,85 1  have  thought 
it  as  well  not  to  defer  the  consideration  of  them. 

These  plants  are  good  for  stings  inflicted  by  scorpions,  and 
are  useful  as  an  application,  mixed  with  dates  or  quinces,  for 
maladies  of  the  liver :  a  decoction  of  them  with  barley -meal 
is  used  for  the  kidneys  and  the  bladder.  A  decoction  of  them 
in  water  is  used  also  for  jaundice  and  for  strangury.  The 
kind  last  mentioned,  in  combination  with  honey,  is  good  for 
wounds  inflicted  by  serpents,  and  a  pessary  is  made  of  it,  with 
honey,  as  a  detergent  for  the  uterus.  Taken  in  drink  it  brings 
away  coagulated  blood,  and  rubbed  upon  the  body  it  acts  as  a 
sudorific  :  it  is  particularly  useful  also  for  the  kidneys.  Pills 
of  a  purgative  nature  are  made  of  it  for  dropsy,  with  figs.86 
Taken  in  wine,  in  doses  of  one  victor iatus,87  it  dispels  lumbago, 
and  cures  coughs  that  are  not  of  an  inveterate  description. 
A  decoction  of  it  in  vinegar,  taken  in  drink,  will  instantaneously 
bring  away  the  dead  foetus,  it  is  said. 


For  a  similar88  reason,  too,  we  shall  accord  the  same  dis- 
tinction to  the  pityusa,  a  plant  which  some  persons  reckon 
among  the  varieties  of  the  tithy mains.89  It  is  a  shrub,90  re- 

82  The  Teucrium  chamsepitys  of  Linnaeus,  the  Chamsepitys  lutea  vulgaris 
of  C.  Bauhin,  the  ground-pine. 

83  The  leaves  are  imbricated,  and  the  branches  bend  downwards,  like 
those  of  the  pine,  whence  the  name. 

84  The  Teucrium  pseudo-chamaepitys  of  Linnaeus,  the  bastard  ground- 

85  To  the  pine  or  pitch-tree,  mentioned  in  c.  19. 

86  They  are  rich  in  essential  oil,  and  are  of  a  tonic  nature.    All  that  is  here 
stated  as  to  their  medicinal  uses,  and  which  cannot  be  based  upon  that 
property,  is  hypothetical,  Fee  says,  and  does  not  deserve  to  be  refuted. 

87  See  Introduction  to  Vol.  III. 

88  The  resemblance  of  its  name  to  the  "pitvs,"  or  pitch-tree. 
»»  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  39. 

90  An  Euphorbia  with  a  ligneous  stem,  the  Euphorbia  pityusa  of  Linnaeus. 

Chap.  22.]  RESINS.  15 

sembling  the  pitch-tree  in  appearance,  and  with  a  diminutive 
purple  blossom.  A  decoction  of  the  root,  taken  in  doses  of 
one  hemina,  carries  off  the  bilious  and  pituitous  secretions  by91 
stool,  and  a  spoonful  of  the  seed,  used  as  a  suppository,  has  a 
similar  effect.  A  decoction  of  the  leaves  in  vinegar  removes 
scaly  eruptions  of  the  skin ;  and  in  combination  with  boiled 
rue,  it  effects  the  cure  of  diseases  of  the  mamillae,  gripings  in 
the  bowels,  wounds  inflicted  by  serpents,  and  incipient  gather- 
ings of  most  kinds. 


In  treating,  first  of  wines,92  and  then  of  trees,93  we  have 
stated  that  resin  is  the  produce  of  the  trees  above-mentioned, 
and  have  described  the  several  varieties  of  it,  and  the  countries 
in  which  they  are  respectively  produced.  There  are  two 
principal  kinds  of  resin,  the  dry  and  the  liquid.93*  The  dry 
resins  are  extracted  from  the  pine94  and  the  pitch- tree,95  the 
liquid  from  the  terebinth,96  the  larch,97  the  lentisk,98  and  the 
cypress ;"  these  last  producing  it  in  the  province  of  Asia  and 
in  Syria.  It  is  an  error1  to  suppose  that  the  resin  of  the  pitch- 
tree*  is  the  same  as  that  of  the  larch ;  for  the  pitch-tree  yields 
an  unctuous2  resin,  and  of  the  same  consistency  as  frankin- 
cense, while  that  of  the  larch  is  thin,  like  honey  in  colour,  and 
of  a  powerful  odour.  It  is  but  very  rarely  that  medical  men 
make  use  of  liquid  resin,  and  when  they  do,  it  is  mostly  that 
produced  by  the  larch,  which  is  administered  in  an  egg  for 

The  characteristics  of  it  differ,  however,  from  the  description  here  given 
by  Pliny.  It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine,  though,  like  the  other  Euphor- 
biaceae,  it  has  very  active  properties. 

91  This,  Fee  says,  is  consistent  with  truth. 

9Mn  B.  xiv.  c.  25.  '<*  B.  xvi.  cc.  16,  21,  22,  23. 

93*  Or,  as  they  are  called  at  the  present  day,  the  resins,  and  the  oleo- 
resins,  or  terebinthines. 

94  Fee  thinks  that  this  name  extends  to  the  numerous  species  of  resin- 
iferous  trees.  .  _  95  The  Abies  excelsa  of  Linnaeus. 

96  The  Pistacia-terebinthus;    see  B.  xiii.  c.  12.     It  yields  a  valuable 
turpentine,  known  in  commerce  as  that  of  Cyprus  or  Chios. 

97  The  so-called  Venice  turpentine  is  extracted  from  the  larch. 
-  It  yields  mastich  solely,  a  solid  resin. 

99  It  yields  a  terebin thine,  and  a  very  diminutive  amount  of  solid  resin. 
1  Fee  says,  that  if  the  same  methods  are  employed,  the  same  products 
may  be  obtained,  though  in  general  the  larch  yields  the  better  terebinthine. 
3  Fee  thinks  that  he  is  speaking  of  a  thick  resin,  or  galipot,  as  the 
;  French  call  it,  of  the  consistency  of  honey. 



cough  and  ulcerations  of  the  viscera.  The  resin  of  the  pine, 
too,  is  far  from  extensively  used,  and  that  of  the  other  kinds 
is  always  boiled3  before  use  :  on  the  various  methods  of  boiling 
it,  we  have  enlarged  at  sufficient  length  already.4 

As  to  the  produce  of  the  various  trees,  the  resin  of  the  tere- 
binth is  held  in  high  esteem,  as  being  the  most  odoriferous  and 
the  lightest,  the  kinds5  which  come  from  Cyprus  and  Syria 
being  looked  upon  as  the  best.  Both  these  kinds  are  the 
colour  of  Attic  honey ;  but  that  of  Cyprus  has  more  body,  and 
dries  with  greater  rapidity.  In  the  dry  resins  the  qualities 
requisite  are  whiteness,  purity,  and  transparency  :  but  what- 
ever the  kind,  the  produce  of  mountainous6  districts  is  always 
preferred  to  that  of  champaign  countries,  and  that  of  a  north- 
eastern aspect  to  that  of  any  other  quarter.  Resins7  are  dis- 
solved in  oil  as  a  liniment  and  emollient  cataplasm  for  wounds  ; 
but  when  they  are  used  as  a  potion,  bitter  almonds8  are  also 
employed.  The  curative  properties  of  resins  consist  in  their 
tendency  to  close  wounds,  to  act  as  a  detergent  upon  gatherings 
and  so  disperse  them,  and  to  cure  affections  of  the  chest. 

The  resin  of  the  terebinth  *  *  *  it  is  used  too,  warmed, 
as  a  liniment  for  pains  in  the  limbs,  the  application  being  re- 
moved after  the  patient  has  taken  a  walk  in  the  sun.  Among 
slave-dealers  too,  there  is  a  practice  of  rubbing  the  bodies  of 
the  slaves  with  it,  which  is  done  with  the  greatest  care,  as  a 
corrective  for  an  emaciated  appearance ;  the  resin  having  the 
property  of  relaxing  the  skin  upon  all  parts  of  the  body,  and 
rendering  it  more  capable  of  being  plumped  out  by  food.9 

Next  after   the   resin   of  the  terebinth  comes  that  of  the 

3  Boiled  terebinthine,  or  turpentine,  is  still  used,  Fee  says,  in  medicine ; 
that  process  disengaging  the  essential  oil. 

4  In  B.  xvi.  c.  22. 

5  Fee  thinks  that  in  reality  these  are  terehinthines,  and  not  resins. 

6  It  has  been  generally  remarked  that  aromatic  plants  grown  on  moun- 
tains have  a  stronger  perfume  than  those  of  the  plains  ;  Fee  queries  whether 
this  extends  to  the  resins. 

7  Though  of  little  importance  in  modern  medicine,  resins  and  terebin- 
thines  are  still  employed  as  the  basis  of  certain  plasters  and  other  prepara- 

8  Such  a  potion  as  this,  Fee  says,  would  but  ill  agree  with  a  person  in 
robust  health  even. 

9  There  would  be  no  necessity  whatever,  Fee  says,  for  such  a  process,  a  j 
plentiful  supply  of  food  being  quite  sufficient  for  the  purpose.      Galen  I 
recommends  frictions  of  terebinthine  for  the  improvement  of  the  health. 

Chap.  23.]  PITCH.  17 

Jcntisk:10  it  possesses  astringent  properties,  and  is  the   most 
powerful  diuretic  of  them  all.     The  other  resins  are  laxative 
feto  the  bowels,    promote  the  digestion  of  crudities,  allay  the 
[  violence  of  inveterate  coughs,  and,  employed  as  a  fumigation, 
:  disengage  the  uterus  of  foreign11  bodies  with  which  it  is  sur- 
charged :  they  are  particularly  useful  too  as  neutralizing  the 
effects  of  mistletoe  ;  and,   mixed   with  bull  suet  and  honey, 
they  are  curative  of  inflamed  tumours  and  affections  of  a  similar 
nature.     The  resin  of  the  lentisk  is  very  convenient  as  a  ban- 
doline for  keeping  stubborn  eyelashes  in  their  place  :    it  is 
useful  also  in  cases  of  fractures,  suppurations  of  the  ears,  and 
prurigo  of  the  generative  organs.     The  resin  of  the  pine  is  the 
best  of  them  all  for  the  cure  of  wounds  in  the  head. 


We  have  also  stated  on  a  previous  occasion12  from  what 
tree  pitch  is  extracted,  and  the  methods  employed  for  that 
purpose.  Of  this  also  there  are  two  kinds ;  thick  pitch  and 
liquid  pitch.13  Of  the  several  varieties  of  thick  pitch  the 
most  useful  for  medicinal  purposes  is  that  of  Bruttium  ;14  for 
being  both  extremely  unctuous  and  very  resinous,  it  reunites 
the  properties  both  of  resin  and  of  pitch,  that  of  a  yellow 
reddish  colour  being  the  most  highly  esteemed.  As  to  the 
statement  made  in  addition  to  this,  that  the  produce  of  the 
male  tree  is  the  best,  I  do  not  believe  that  any  such  distinc- 
tion is  at  all  possible. 

Pitch  is  of  a  warming,  cicatrizing  tendency :  mixed  with 
polenta  it  is  particularly  useful  as  a  neutralizer  of  the  venom 
of  the  cerastes,15  and  in  combination  with  honey  it  is  used 
for  quinzy,  catarrhs,  and  fits  of  sneezing  caused  by  phlegm. 
With  oil  of  roses  it  is  used  as  an  injection  for  the  ears,  and 
employed  as  a  liniment  with  wax  it  heals  lichens.  It  relaxes16 
the  bowels,  also,  and  used  as  an  electuary,  or  applied  with 

10  Mastich.  The  medicinal  properties  here  attributed  to  it,  Fee  says, 
do  not  exist. 

!i   "  Onera,"  12  In  B.  xiv.  c.  25,  and  B.  xvi.  cc.  21,  22. 

13  Tar.     See  B.  xvi.  c.  21. 

14  The  pitch  of  Calabria,   Fee  says,  is  known  at  the  present  day  as 
yitch  resin.     All  that  Pliny  states  as  to  the  medicinal  properties  of  pitch, 
is  destitute,  Fee  thinks,  of  the  slightest  probability. 

15  Or  horned  serpent.  16  Taken  internally,  of  course, 
VOL.    V.  •  C 


honey  to  the  tonsillary  glands,  it  facilitates  expectoration. 
Applied  topically,  it  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  ulcers,  and 
makes  new  flesh.  Mixed  with  raisins  and  axle-grease,  it 
forms  a  detergent  plaster  for  carbuncles  and  putrid  ulcers,  and, 
with  pine-bark  or  sulphur,  for  serpiginous  sores.  Pitch  has 
been  administered  too  by  some,  in  doses  of  one  cyathus,  for 
phthisis  and  inveterate  coughs.  It  heals  chaps  of  the  feet  and 
rectum,  inflamed  tumours,  and  malformed  nails  ;  and  used  as  a 
fumigation,  it  is  curative  of  indurations  and  derangements  of 
the  uterus,  and  of  lethargy.  Boiled  with  barley-meal  and  the 
urine  of  a  youth  who  has  not  arrived  at  puberty,  it  causes 
scrofulous  sores  to  suppurate.  Dry  pitch  is  used  also  for  the 
cure  of  alopecy.  For  affections  of  the  mamillae,  Bruttian 
pitch  is  warmed  in  wine  with  fine  spelt  meal,  and  applied  as 
hot  as  can  be  borne. 


"We  have  already17  described  the  way  in  which  liquid  pitch 
and  the  oil  known  as  pisselaeon  are  made.  Some  persons  boil 
the  pitch  over  again,  and  give  it  the  name  of  "  palimpissa."18  For 
quinzy19  and  affections  of  the  uvula,  liquid  pitch  is  employed 
internally.  It  is  used  also  for  the  cure  of  ear-ache,  for  the 
improvement  of  the  sight,  and  as  a  salve  for  the  lips ;  and  is 
employed  for  hysterical  suffocations,  inveterate  coughs,  profuse 
expectorations,  spasms,  nervousness,  opisthotony,  paralysis, 
and  pains  in  the  sinews.  It  is  a  very  excellent  remedy  too  for 
itch  in  dogs  and  beasts  of  burden. 


There  is  pissasph altos  too,  a  natural  production  of  the 
territory  of  the  Apolloniates,20  and  consisting  of  pitch  mixed 

17  In  B.  xvi.  c.  22,  and  B.  xv.  c.  7. 
19  "Pitch  boiled  over  again." 

19  Fee  says,  that  this  statement  is  quite  beyond  all  belief.     Indeed  there 
is  little  doubt  that  tar  taken  internally  for  quinzy,  would  only  tend  to 
aggravate  the  complaint.     He  states  that  a  solution  of  tar  in  water  is  some- 
times used    internally    with    success    for  pulmonary  phthisis.       Bishop 
Berkeley  wrote  his  Siris,  on  the  virtues  of  Tar- water  as  a  medicament, 
having  been  indebted  to  it  for  his  recovery  from  an  attack  of  colic. 

20  See  B.  xvi.  c.  23.     His  description  here  is  faulty,  it  being  solely  a 
natural  pitch  or  mineral  bitumen,  without  any  admixture  of  vegetable 
pitch.     Vitruvius  calls  this  pissasphalt,  pitch  ;  but  Julian,  more  correctly, 

Chap.  28.]  THE   LENTISK.  19 

with  bitumen.  Some  persons,  however,  make  this  mixture 
artificially,  and  employ  it  for  the  cure  of  itch  in  cattle,  and  of 
injuries  done  by  the  young  sucklings  to  the  manrillse.  The 
most  esteemed  portion  of  it  is  that  which  floats  on  the  surface 
when  boiled. 

CHAP.  26. ZOPISSA  :    ONE    REMEDY. 

We  have  already21  stated  that  zopissa  is  the  pitch,  macerated 
with  salt-water  and  wax,  that  has  been  scraped  from  off 
the  bottoms  of  ships.  The  best  kind  is  that  taken  from  ships 
which  have  been  to  sea  for  the  first  time.  It  is  used  as  an  in- 
gredient in  plasters  of  an  emollient  nature,  employed  to  disperse 


A  decoction  in  vinegar  of  the  wood  of  the  torch- tree*2 
makes  a  most  eflicacjous  gargle  for  tooth- ache. 


The  seed,  bark,  and  tear-like  juices  of  the  lentisk  are 
diuretics,  and  act  astringently  upon  the  bowels  :23  a  decoction 
of  them,  used  as  a  fomentation,  is  curative  of  serpiginous  sores, 
and  is  applied  topically  for  humid  ulcerations  and  erysipelas  ; 
it  is  employed  also  as  a  collutory  for  the  gums.  The  teeth  are 
rubbed  with  the  leaves  in  cases  of  tooth- ache,  and  they  are 
rinsed  with  a  decoction  of  the  leaves  when  loose  :24  this  decoc- 
tion has  the  effect  also  of  staining25  the  hair.  The  gum  of 
this  tree  is  useful  for  diseases  of  the  rectum,  and  all  cases  in 
which  desiccatives  and  calorifics  are  needed ;  a  decoction  too 
of  the  gum  is  good  for  the  stomach,  acting  as  a  carminative 

bitumen.     The  names  now  given  to  it  are  mineral  pitch,  and  malthe  or 
pitch  of  Malta. 

21  In  B.  xvi.  c.  23.     Fee  thinks  that  the  use  of  it  is  more  likely  to 
have  been  injurious  than  beneficial. 

22  Or  t«da.     See  B,  xvi.  c.  19. 

23  Fee  says,  that  within  the  last  century,  the  wood  of  the  lentisk  or 
mastich,  and  the  oil  of  its  berries,  figured  in  the  Pharmacopoeias.     Their 
medicinal  properties  are  far  from  energetic,  but  the  essential  oil  may  pro- 
bably be  of  some  utility  as  an  excitant. 

24  This  property  is  still  attributed  in  the  East  to  the  leaves  and  resin  of 
the  lentisk.     We  learn  from  Martial,   B.  xiv.  Epig.  22,  that  the  wood  of 
the  lentisk,  as  well  as  quills,  was  used  for  tooth-picks. 

25  This,  Fee  says,  is  not  the  fact. 


and  diuretic ;  it  is  applied  also  to  the  head,  in  cases  of  head- 
ache, with  polenta.  The  more  tender  of  the  leaves  are  used  as 
an  application  for  inflammations  of  the  eyes. 

The  mastich26  produced  by  the  lentisk  is  used  as  a  bando- 
line for  the  hairs  of  the  eye-lids,  in  compositions  for  giving 
a  plumpness  to  the  face,  and  in  cosmetics  for  smoothing27  the 
skin.  It  is  employed  for  spitting  of  blood  and  for  inveterate 
coughs,  as  well  as  all  those  purposes  for  which  gum  acacia  is 
in  request.  It  is  used  also  for  the  cure  of  excoriations ;  which 
are  fomented  either  with  the  oil  extracted  from  the  seed, 
mixed  with  wax,  or  else  with  a  decoction  of  the  leaves  in 
oil.  Fomentations  too  are  made  of  a  decoction  of  it  in  water 
for  diseases  of  the  male  organs.28  I  know  for  a  fact,  that  in 
the  illness  of  Considia,  the  daughter  of  M.  Servilius,  a  per- 
sonage of  consular  rank,  her  malad}^  which  had  long  resisted 
all  the  more  severe  methods  of  treatment,  was  at  last  success- 
fully treated  with  the  milk  of  goats  that  had  been  fed  urjon  the 
leaves  of  the  lentisk. 


The  plane-tree29  neutralizes  the  bad  effects  of  bites  in- 
flicted by  the  bat.30  The  excrescences  of  this  tree,  taken  in 
doses31  of  four  denarii,  in  wine,  act  as  an  antidote  to  the 
venom  of  serpents  of  all  kinds  and  of  scorpions,  and  are  cura- 
tive of  burns.  Pounded  with  strong  vinegar,  squill  vinegar 
in  particular,  they  arrest  haemorrhage  of  every  kind  ;  and 
with  the  addition  of  honey,  they  remove  freckles,  carcino- 
matous  sores,  and  black  spots  of  long  standing  on  the  skin. 

The  leaves  again,  and  the  bark  of  this  tree,  are  used  in  the 
form  of  liniments  for  gatherings  and  suppurations,  and  a 
decoction  of  them  is  employed  for  a  similar  purpose.  A  de- 
coction of  the  bark  in  vinegar  is  remedial  for  affections  of 
the  teeth,  and  the  more  tender  of  the  leaves  boiled  in  white 
wine  are  good  for  the  eyes.  The  down  which  grows  upon  the 

2(5  See  B.  xii.  c.  36,  and  B.  xiv.  c.  25. 

27  "  Smegmata." 

28  Littre  thus  reads  the  whole  passage,  "Sive  cum  aqua,  ut  ita  foveantur," 
— "  A  decoction  of  it  is  made  with  water  for  the  purpose  of  fomentation." 

29  See  B.  xii.  c.  3. 

30  "  Adversantur  vespertilionihus."     Fee  se^s  difficulties  in  this  passage, 
which  really  do  not  seem  to  exist. 

yi  Hie  produce  of  the  plane  is  no  longer  employed  in  medicine. 

Chap.  32.]  THE   POPLAR.  21 

leaves32  is  injurious  to  both  the  ears  and  eyes.  The  ashes  of 
the  excrescences  of  this  tree  heal  such  parts  of  the  body  as 
have  been  burnt  or  frost-bitten.  The  bark,  taken  in  wine, 
reduces  the  inflammation  caused  by  the  stings  of  scorpions. 

CHAP.    30. THE  ASH  I    FIVE    REMEDIES. 

"We  have  already33  made  some  mention  of  the  virtues  pos- 
sessed by  the  ash  as  an  antidote  to  the  venom  of  serpents. 
The  seed  of  it  is  enclosed  in  follicules,  which  are  good  for 
diseases  of  the  liver,  and,  in  combination  with  wine,  for  pains 
in  the  sides :  they  are  employed  also  for  drawing  off  the 
water  in  dropsy.  They  have  the  property,  too,  of  diminish- 
ing obesity,  and  of  gradually  reducing  the  body  to  a  state  of 
comparative  emaciation,34  the  follicules  being  pounded  in 
wine  and  administered  in  proportion  to  the  bodily  strength  ; 
thus,  for  instance,  to  a  child,  five  of  them  are  given  in  three 
cyathi  of  wine,  but  for  persons  in  more  robust  health,  seven 
are  prescribed,  in  five  cyathi  of  wine. 

We  must  not  omit  to  state  that  the  shavings  and  saw-dust 
of  this  wood  are  of  a  highly  dangerous  nature,  according  to 


The  root  of  the  maple,35  beaten  up  in  wine,  is  extremely 
efficacious  as  a  topical  application  for  pains  in  the  liver. 


We  have  already36  mentioned,- when  speaking  of  the  un- 
guents, the  use  that  is  made  of  the  berries37  of  the  white 
poplar.  A  potion  prepared  from  the  bark  is  good  for  sciatica 

32  The  young  leaves  probably,  or  else  the  fruit. 

33  In  B.  xvi.  c.  24.     There  are  still  some  traces  of  this  notion  existing, 
Fee  says,  among  the  French  peasantry.     All  the  statements  here  made  re- 
lative to  its  medicinal  properties,  are  utterly  unfounded. 

34  In  reality  they  have  no  such  effect. 

35  See  B.  xvi.  c.  26.     The  root  of  the  maple,  Fee  says,  has  no  marked 
qualities  whatever. 

36  In  B.  xii.  c.  61.     The  buds  of  the  poplar,  Fee  says,  are  still  used  in 
medicine  in  the  composition  of  an  unguent  known  as  "  populeum."      The 
bark  is  astringent,  and  the  wood  destitute  of  taste. 

37  "  Uvarum."     Fee  thinks  that  by  these  berries,  or  grapes,  the  blossoms 
or  buds  are  meant.     See  Note  91  to  B.  xii.  c.  61 

22  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 

and  strangury,  and  the  juice  of  the  leaves  is  taken  warm  for 
ear-ache.  So  long38  as  a  person  holds  a  sprig  of  poplar  in 
his  hand,  there  is  no  fear  of39  chafing  between  the  thighs. 

The  black  poplar  which  grows  in  Crete  is  looked  upon  as 
the  most  efficacious  of  them  all.  The  seed  of  it,  taken  in 
vinegar,  is  good  for  epilepsy.  This  tree  produces  a  resin  also 
to  a  small  extent,  which  is  made  use  of  for  emollient  plasters. 
The  leaves,  boiled  in  vinegar,  are  applied  topically  for  gout. 
A  moisture  that  exudes  from  the  clefts  of  the  black  poplar 
removes  warts,  and  pimples  caused  by  friction.  Poplars 
produce  also  on  the  leaves  a  kind  of  sticky40  juice,  from  which 
bees  prepare  their  propolis  :41  indeed  this  juice,  mixed  with 
water, 'has  the  same  virtues  as  propolis. 


The  leaves,  bark,  and  branches  of  the  elm42  have  the  pro- 
perty of  filling  up  wounds  and  knitting  the  flesh  together : 
the  inner  membrane43  too,  of  the  bark,  and  the  leaves,  steeped 
in  vinegar,  are  applied  topically  for  leprosy.  The  bark,  in 
doses  of  one  denarius,  taken  in  one  hemina  of  cold  water,  acts 
as  a  purgative  upon  the  bowels,  and  is  particularly  useful  for 
carrying  off  pituitous  and  aqueous  humours.  The  gum  also 
which  this  tree  produces  is  applied  topically  to  gatherings, 
wounds,  and  burns,  which  it  would  be  as  well  to  foment  with 
the  decoction  also.  The  moisture44  which  is  secreted  on 
the  follicules  of  the  tree  gives  a  finer  colour  to  the  skin, 
and  improves  the  looks.  The  foot-stalks  of  the  leaves  that 
first  appear,45  boiled  in  wine,  are  curative  of  tumours,  and 

38  See  also  c.  38,  as  to  the  Vitex. 

19  This  superstition  probably  applies  to  persons  riding  on  horseback. 

40  "Guttam."     This  is  the  substance  known  to  us  as  "honey-dew." 
It  is  either  secreted  by  the  plant  itself,  or  deposited  on  the  leaves  by  an 
aphis.     It  is  found  more  particularly  on  the  leaves  of  the  rose,  the  plane, 
the  lime,  and  the  maple.     Bees  and  ants  are  particularly  fond  of  it. 

41  Bee-glue.     See  B.  xi.  c.  6,  and  B.  xxii.  c.  50. 

42  See  B.  xvi.  c.  29.     The  bark  of  the  elm,  like  that  of  most  other  trees, 
has  certain  astringent  properties. 

43  Fee  says  that  it  is  only  some  few  years  since  the  inner  bark  of  the 
elm  was  sometimes  prescribed  medicinally,  but  that  it  has  now  completely 
fallen  into  disuse.    All  that  Pliny  says  here  of  the  virtues  of  the  elm  is 
entirely  suppositions. 

44  A  kind  of  honey-dew,  no  doubt. 

45  "  Cauliculi  foliorum  primi." 

Cbap.  35.]  THE    ELDEE.  23 

bring  them  to  a  head  :46  the  same,  too,  is  the  effect  produced  by 
the  inner  bark. 

Many  persons  are  of  opinion  that  the  bark  of  this  tree, 
chewed,  is  a  very  useful  application  for  wounds,  and  that  the 
leaves,  bruised  and  moistened  with  water,  are  good  for  gout. 
The  moisture  too  that  exudes  from  the  pith  of  the  tree, 
as  already47  stated,  on  an  incision  being  made,  applied 
to  the  head,  causes  the  hair  to  grow  and  prevents  it  from 
falling  off. 


The  linden-tree48  is  useful,  thougli  in  a  less  marked  degree, 
for  nearly  all  the  same  purposes  as  the  wild  olive.  The  leaves, 
however,  are  the  only  part  that  is  made  use  of  for  ulcers  upon 
infants  ;  chewed,  too,  or  employed  in  the  form  of  a  decoction, 
they  are  diuretic.  Used  as  a  liniment  they  arrest  menstruation 
when  in  excess,  and  an  infusion  of  them,  taken  in  drink,  carries 
off  superfluous  blood. 


There  are  two  kinds  of  elder,  one  of  which  grows  wild  and 
is  much  smaller  than  the  other ;  by  the  Greeks  it  is  known  as 
the  "  chamseacte,"  or  "  helion."49  A  decoction  of  the  leaves,60 
seed,  or  root  of  either  kind,  taken  in  doses  of  two  cyathi,  in 
old  wine,  though  bad  for  the  upper  regions  of  the  stomach, 
carries  off  all  aqueous  humours  by  stool.  This  decoction  is 
very  cooling  too  for  inflammations,  those  attendant  upon  recent 
burns  in  particular.  A  poultice  is  made  also  of  the  more 

46  "  Ex trah unique  per  fistulas." 

47  In  B.  XT!,  c.  74. 

48  See  B.  xvi.  c.  25.     The  blossoms  of  the  linden-tree  are  the  only  part 
of  it  employed  in  modern  medicine.      Fee  thinks,  with  Hardouin,  that 
Pliny  has  here  attributed  to  the  linden,  or  Philyra  of  the  Greeks,  the  pro- 
perties which  in  reality  were  supposed  to  belong  to  the  Pliillyrea  latifolia, 
a  shrub  resembling  the  wild  olive.      Dioscorides,  in  his  description  of  its 
properties,  has  not  fallen  into  the  same  error. 

49  «  Ground  elder  "  or  "marsh  elder ;"  the  Sambucus  ebulus  of  Lin- 
nseus,  or  dwarf  elder.     The  other  kind  mentioned  by  Pliny  is  the  Sambu- 
cus nigra  of  Linnaeus,  or  black  elder. 

50  Fee  says  that  though  some  of  the  assertions  as  to  its  medicinal  pro- 
perties made  by  Pliny  are  unfounded,  it  is  still  an  opinion  among  the 
moderns  that  the  leaves  of  the  elder  are  purgative,  the  inner  bark  aa 
emetic  and  hydragogue,  the  berries  laxative,  and  the  flowers  emollient. 

24  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 

tender  leaves,  mixed  with  polenta,  for  bites  inflicted  by  dogs. 
The  juice  of  the  elder,  used  as  a  fomentation,  reduces  abscesses 
of  the  brain,  and  more  particularly  of  the  membrane  which 
envelopes  that  organ.  The  berries,  which  have  not  so  power- 
ful an  action  as  the  other  parts  of  the  tree,  stain  the  hair. 
Taken  in  doses  of  one  acetabulum,  in  drink,  they  are  diuretic. 
The  softer  leaves  are  eaten  with  oil  and  salt,  to  carry  off 
pituitous  and  bilious  secretions. 

The  smaller  kind  is  for  all  these  purposes  the  more  efficacious 
of  the  two.  A  decoction  of  the  root  in  wine,  taken  in  doses 
of  two  cyathi,  brings  away  the  water  in  dropsy,  and  acts 
emolliently  upon  the  uterus :  the  same  effects  are  produced 
also  by  a  sitting-bath  made  of  a  decoction  of  the  leaves. 
The  tender  shoots  of  the  cultivated  kind,  boiled  in  a  saucepan 
and  eaten  as  food,  have  a  purgative  effect :  the  leaves  taken  in 
wine,  neutralize  the  venom  of  serpents.  An  application  of 
the  young  shoots,  mixed  with  he-goat  suet,  is  remarkably  good 
for  gout ;  and  if  they  are  macerated  in  water,  the  infusion  will 
destroy  fleas.  If  a  decoction  of  the  leaves  is  sprinkled  about 
a  place,  it  will  exterminate  flies.  "  Boa  "61  is  the  name  given 
to  a  malady  which  appears  in  the  form  of  red  pimples  upon 
the  body  ;  for  its  cure  the  patient  is  scourged  with  a  branch  of 
elder.  The  inner  bark,62  pounded  and  taken  with  white  wine, 
relaxes  the  bowels. 


The  juniper  is  of  a  warming  and  resolvent  nature  beyond 
all  other  plants  :  in  other  respects,  it  resembles  the  cedar.53 
There  are  two  species  of  this  tree,  also,  one  of  which  is  larger54 
than  the  other  :55  the  odour  of  either,  burnt,  repels  the  ap- 

61  According  to  Hardouin,  this  would  appear  to  be  the  measles ;  but  ac- 
cording to  Festus,  swellings  on  the  legs  were  so  called.      The  shingles  is 
probably  the  malady  meant. 

62  Fee  speaks  of  a  decoction  of  the  inner  bark  as  having  been  recently 
in  vogue  for  the  cure  of  dropsy. 

53  This  so-called  cedar,  Fee  says,  is  in  reality  itself  a  juniper.  The  medici- 
nal properties  of  all  the  varieties  of  the  juniper  are  not  identical.  Theessen- 
tial  oil  of  the  leaves  acts  with  a  formidable  energy  upon  the  human  system. 

54  This  is  identified  by  Fee  with  the  Juniperus  communis  of  Lamarck, 
variety  a,  the  Juniperus  communis  of  Linnaeus. 

55  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Juniperus  nana  of  Willdenow,  the  Juni- 
perus  communis  of  Lamarck,  variety  /3.     The  Spanish  juniper,  mentioned 
in  H.  xvi.  c.  76,  he  identifies  with  the  Juniperus  thurifera  of  Linnaeus. 

Chap.  37.]  THE  WILLOW.  25 

proach  of  serpents.56  The  seed57  is  good  for  pains  in  the 
stomach,  chest,  and  sides ;  it  dispels  flatulency  and  sudden 
chills,  soothes  cough,  and  brings  indurations  to  a  head.  Ap- 
plied topically,  it  checks  the  growth  of  tumours  ;  and  the 
berries,  taken  in  red  wine,  act  astringently  upon  the  bowels : 
they  are  applied  also  to  tumours  of  the  abdomen.  The  seed 
is  used  as  an  ingredient  in  antidotes  of  an  aperient  nature,  and 
ia  diuretic58  in  its  effects.  It  is  used  as  a  liniment  for  de- 
fluxions  of  the  eyes,  and  is  prescribed  for  convulsions,  rup- 
tures, griping  pains  in  the  bowels,  affections  of  the  uterus, 
and  sciatica,  either  in  a  dose  of  four  berries  in  white  wine,  or 
in  the  form  of  a  decoction  of  twenty  berries  in  wine. 

There  are  persons  who  rub  the  body  with  juniper  berries  as 
a  preventive  of  the  attacks  of  serpents. 

CHAP.    37.    (9.) — THE  WILLOW  :    FOURTEEN   REMEDIES.      THB 

The  fruit  of  the  willow,59  before  it  arrives  at  maturity,  is 
covered  with  a  down  like  a  spider's  web  :  gathered60  before  it 
is  ripe,  it  arrests  discharges  of  blood  from  the  mouth.  The 
bark  of  the  upper  branches,  reduced  to  ashes  and  mixed  with 
water,  is  curative  of  corns  and  callosities  :  it  removes  spots 
also  upon  the  face,  being  still  more  efficacious  for  that  purpose 
if  mixed  with  the  j  uices  of  the  tree. 

The  juices  produced  by  the  willow  form  three  different 
varieties  ;  one61  of  which  exudes  in  the  shape  of  a  gum  from 

56  Virgil  says  this  of  the  fumes  of  the  cedar,  Georg.  III.  414;  an 
additional  proof,  Fee  says,  that  under  the  name  of  "  cedrus,"  the  juniper 
was  really  meant.  The  smoke  of  the  juniper  is  not  known  to  have  the 
effect  upon  serpents  here  described. 

5>  The  berries  of  the  juniper  contain  sugar,  mucilage,  and  a  small  pro- 
portion of  essential  oil ;  a  rob  is  prepared  from  them,  Fee  says,  under  the 
name  of  "extract  of  juniper." 

58  It  is  a  well-known  fact,  that  juniper  berries  are  diuretic  ;  they  impart 
also  to  the  urine  the  odour  of  the  violet,  a  property  which  is  equally  pos- 
sessed by  turpentine.  All  the  other  properties  here  attributed  to  the 
juniper,  are,  in  Fee's  opinion,  either  hypothetical  or  absurd. 

69  See  B.  xvi.  c.  68. 

60  Neither  this  downy  substance  nor  the  seeds  are  now  employed  for 
any  purpose.     The  bark  of  the  willow  has  some  strongly-pronounced  pro- 
perties, but  all  other  parts  of  it  are  totally  inert. 

61  A  kind  of  manna,  Fee  says.      The  other  juices  here  mentioned  are 
secreted  from  the  sap. 

26  PLINY'S  NATUKAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 

the  tree  itself,  and  another  distils  from  an  incision  some  three 
•  fingers  in  width,  made  in  the  bark  while  the  tree  is  in  blossom. 
This  last  is  very  useful  for  dispersing  humours  which  impede 
the  sight,  acting  also  as  an  inspissative  when  needed,  promoting 
the  discharge  of  the  urine,  and  bringing  abscesses  of  all  kinds 
to  a  head.  The  third  kind  of  juice  exudes  from  the  wounds, 
when  the  branches  are  lopt  off  with  the  bill.  Either  of  these 
juices,  warmed  in  a  pomegranate  rind,  is  used  as  an  injection 
for  diseases  of  the  ears.  The  leaves,  too,  boiled  and  beaten 
up  with  wax,  are  employed  as  a  liniment  for  similar  purposes, 
and  for  gout.  The  bark  and  leaves,  boiled  in  wine,  form  a 
decoction  that  is  remarkably  useful  as  a  fomentation  for  affec- 
tions of  the  sinews.  The  blossoms,  bruised  with  the  leaves, 
remove  scaly  eruptions  of  the  face ;  and  the  leaves,  bruised  and 
taken  in  drink,  check  libidinous  tendencies,62  and  effectually 
put  an  end  to  them,  if  habitually  employed. 

The  seed  of  the  black  willow  of  Ameria,63  mixed  with 
litharge  in  equal  proportions,  and  applied  to  the  body  just 
after  the  bath,  acts  as  a  depilatory. 


!Not  much  unlike  the  willow,  for  the  use  that  is  made  of  it 
in  wicker-work,  is  the  vitex,64  which  also  resembles  it  in  the 
leaves  and  general  appearance,  though  the  smell  of  it  is  more 
agreeable.  The  Greeks  call  it  "lygos,"  or  "agnos,"65  from 
the  fact  that  the  matrons  of  Athens,  during  the  Thesmo- 
phoria,66  a  period  when  the  strictest  chastity  is  observed,  are 
in  the  habit  of  strewing  their  beds  with  the  leaves  of  this  tree. 

There  are  two  species  of  vitex  :  the  larger67  one,  like  the 
willow,  attains  the  full  proportions  of  a  tree  ;  while  the  other,68 
which  is  smaller,  is  branchy,  with  a  paler,  downy  leaf.  The 
first  kind,  generally  known  as  the  "  white"  vitex,  bears  a 

62  The  leaves  have  no  effect  whatever  as  an  antaphrodisiac. 

63  See  B.  xvi.  c.  69. 

64  The  Vitex  agnus  castus  of  Linnaeus,  the  tree  of  chastity. 

65  The  "  chaste"  tree.  It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine ;  the  fruit  has  some- 
what the  flavour  of  spice,  Fee  says,  and  taken  internally  it  would  have  the 
converse  of  an  antaphrodisiac  effect.    The  other  parts  of  it  are  quite  inert. 

66  An  Attic  festival  celebrated  yearly  in  honour  of   Demeter,    which 
lasted  four  or  five  days.     It  was  also  celebrated  in  other  parts  of  Greece. 

67  The  Vitex  agnus  castus  of  Lamarck,  variety  /3,  Elatior. 

68  The  Vitex  agnus  castus  of  Linnaeus,  the  type. 

Chap.  38.]  THE   VITEX.  27 

white  blossom  mixed  with  purple,  whereas  the  black  one  has  a 
flower  that  is  entirely  purple.  Both  of  these  trees  grow  on 
level  spots  of  a  marshy  nature. 

The  seed  of  these  trees,  taken  in  drink,  has  a  sort  of  vinous 
flavour,  and  has  the  reputation  of  being  a  febrifuge.  It  is 
said  also  to  act  as  a  sudorific,  if  the  body  is  rubbed  with  it 
mixed  with  oil,  and  to  have  the  effect  of  dispelling  extreme 
lassitude :  it  acts  too  as  a  diuretic69  and  emmenagogue.  The 
produce  of  both  trees  is  trying  to  the  head,  like  wine,  and 
indeed  the  odour  of  them  is  very  similar.  They  have  the 
effect  also  of  removing  flatulence  in  the  lower  regions  of  the 
body,  act  astringently  upon  the  bowels,  and  are  remarkably 
useful  for  dropsy  and  affections  of  the  spleen.  They  promote 
the  secretion  of  the  milk,  and  neutralize  the  venom  of  serpents, 
when  of  a  cold  nature  more  particularly.  The  smaller  kind, 
however,  is  the  more  efficacious  of  the  two  for  injuries  inflicted 
by  serpents,  the  seed  being  taken  in  doses  of  one  drachma,  in 
wine  or  oxycrate,  or  else  the  more  tender  leaves  in  doses  of  two 

From  both  trees  also  a  liniment  is  prepared  for  the  bites  of 
spiders,  but  it  is  quite  sufficient  to  rub  the  wounds  with  the 
leaves ;  and  if  a  fumigation  is  made  from  them,  or  if  they  are 
spread  beneath  the  bed,  they  will  repel  the  attacks  of  all 
venomous  creatures.  They  act  also  as  an  antaphrodisiac,  and 
it  is  by  this  tendency  in  particular  that  they  neutralize  the 
venom  of  the  phalangium,  the  bite  of  which  has  an  exciting 
effect  upon  the  generative  organs.  The  blossoms  and  young 
shoots,  mixed  with  oil  of  roses,  allay  head-aches  arising  from 
inebriation.  A  decoction  of  the  seed  used  as  a  fomentation 
cures  head-ache,  however  intense  it  may  be ;  and  employed  as 
a  fumigation  or  as  a  pessary,  the  seeds  acts  as  a  detergent 
upon  the  uterus.  Taken  in  drink  with  honey  and  penny -royal, 
it  has  a  laxative  effect ;  pounded  and  used  with  barley-meal, 
it  quickly  brings  abscesses  and  hard  tumours  to  a  head,  and 
has  an  emollient  effect. 

The  seed,  in  combination  with  saltpetre  and  vinegar,  removes 
lichens  and  freckles ;  mixed  with  honey,  it  heals  ulcers  and 
eruptions  of  the  mouth ;  applied  with  butter  and  vine-leaves, 
it  reduces  swellings  of  the  testes  ;  used  with  water,  as  a  lini- 

69  It  may  possibly,  Fee  says,  have  this  effect,  but  the  other  properties 
here  attributed  to  it  are  wholly  imaginary. 

28  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 

ment,  it  cures  chaps  of  the  rectum;  and  employed  with  salt, 
nitre,  and  wax,  it  is  good  for  sprains.  The  seed  and  leaves 
are  used  as  ingredients  also  in  emollient  plasters  for  diseases 
of  the  sinews,  and  for  gout ;  and  a  decoction  of  the  seed  in  oil  is 
employed  as  a  fomentation  for  the  head  in  cases  of  phrenitis 
and  lethargy.  Persons70  who  carry  a  sprig  of  this  plant  in  the 
hand,  or  stuck  in  the  girdle,  will  be  proof,  it  is  said,  against 
chafing  between  the  thighs. 


The  Greeks  give  the  name  of  "  erice,"71  to  a  shrub  that  is  but 
little  different  from  the  myrice.72  It  has  the  colour,  and  very 
nearly  the  leaf,  of  rosemary.  It  neutralizes73  the  venom  of 
serpents,  it  is  said. 


The  broom  is  used  for  making  withes  ;74  the  flowers  of  it 
are  greatly  sought  by  bees.  I  have  my  doubts  whether  this 
is  not  the  same  plant  that  the  Greek  writers  have  called 
"sparton,"  and  of  which,  in  those  parts  of  the  world,  as  I  have 
already75  stated,  they  are  in  the  habit  of  making  fishing-nets. 
I  doubt  also  whether  Homer76  has  alluded  to  this  plant,  when 
he  speaks  of  the  seams  of  the  ships, — "  the  sparta"  coming 
asunder ;  for  it  is  certain  that  in  those  times  the  spartuni77  of 
Spain  or  Africa  was  not  as  yet  in  use,  and  that  vessels  made 
of  materials  sown  together,  were  united  by  the  agency,  not  of 
spartum,  but  of  flax. 

70  Travelling  on  horseback,  probably.   A  similar  superstition  is  mentioned 
as  to  the  poplar,  in  c.  32  of  this  Book. 

71  Probably  the  Erica  arborea  of  Linnaeus  ;  see  B.  xiii.   c.  35.     It  has 
not,  however,  a  leaf  similar  to  that  of  rosemary,  with  the  sole  exception, 
Fee  says,  of  the  Erica  cinerea  of  Linnaeus. 

72  See  B.  xiii.  c.  37.  73  It  has  no  such  effect,  in  reality. 

74  See  B.  xvi.  c.  69.  The  kind  here  alluded  to  is  the  Spanish  broom, 
Fee  thinks.  ™  In  B.  xix.  c.  2.  Vol.  IV.  p.  135. 

?6  Iliad,  B.  ii.  1.  135.  See  B.  xix.  c.  6,  where  Pliny  states  it  as  his 
opinion  that  in  this  passage  Homer  is  speaking  of  flax, 

77  See  B.  xix.  c.  7.  Fee  thinks  that  the  plant,  under  consideration  in 
this  Chapter  is  the  Spanish  broom,  Genista  juncea  of  Lamarck,  the  Spar- 
tium  junceum  of  Linnaeus,  a  different  plant  from  the  Spartum  of  B.  xix. 
c.  7,  the  Stipa  tenacissima  of  Linnaeus.  He  is  of  opinion  also,  that  Homer 
in  the  passage  referred  to  alludes,  not  to  flax,  but  to  the  Genista  juncea.  See 
this  question  further  discussed,  in  the  additional  Note  at  the  end  of  B.  xxvii. 

Chap.  41.]  THE    MYllICA.  29 

The  seed  of  the  plant  to  which  the  Greeks  now  give  the 
name  of  "  sparton,"  grows  in  pods  like  those  of  the  kidney- 
bean.  It  is  as  strongly  drastic78  as  hellebore,  and  is  usually 
taken  fasting,  in  doses  of  one  drachma  and  a  half,  in  four 
cyathi  of  hydrorael.  The  branches  also,  with  the  foliage,  are 
macerated  for  several  days  in  vinegar,  and  are  then  beaten  up, 
the  infusion  being  recommended  for  sciatica,  in  doses  of  one 
cyathus.  Some  persons  think  it  a  better  plan,  however,  to 
make  an  infusion  of  them  in  sea-water,  and  to  inject  it  as  a 
clyster.  The  juice  of  them  is  used  also  as  a  friction  for  sciatica, 
with  the  addition  of  oil.  Some  medical  men,  too,  make  use 
of  the  seed  for  strangury.  Broom,  bruised  with  axle-grease,  is 
a  cure  for  diseases  of  the  knees. 



Lenseus  says,  that  the  myrice,79  otherwise  known  as  the 
"  erica,"  is  a  similar  plant  to  that  of  which  brooms  are  made  at 
Aineria.80  He  states  also  that,  boiled  in  wine  and  then  beaten 
up  and  applied  with  honey,  it  heals  carcinomatous  sores.  I 
would  here  remark,  parenthetically,  that  some  persons  identify 
it  with  the  tainarice.  Ee  this  as  it  may,  it  is  particularly 
useful  for  affections  of  the  spleen,  the  juice  of  it  being  ex- 
tracted for  the  purpose,  and  taken  in  wine;  indeed  so  marvellous, 
they  say,  is  its  antipathy  to  this  part  of  the  viscera,  and  this 
only,  that  if  swine  drink  from  troughs  made  of  this  wood,61 
they  will  be  found  to  lose  the  spleen.  Hence  it  is  that 

78  Fee  says  that  the  blossoms  and  seed  of  the  junciform  genista  and 
other  kinds  are  of  a  purgative  nature ;  indeed,  one  variety  has  been  called 
the  Genista  purgans  by  Lamarck.     None  of  them,  however,  are  so  potent 
in  their  effects  as  Pliny  in  the  present  passage  would  lead  us  to  suppose. 

79  See  B.  xiii.  c.  37,  and  Note  96  ;  where  it  is  stated  that,   in   Fee's 
opinion,  several  plants  were  united  by  the  ancients  under  this  one  collective 
name — brooms  for  instance,  heaths,  and  tamarisks.      He  thinks,  however, 
that  under  the  name  "  Myrica,"  Pliny  may  possibly  have  intended  to  com- 
prehend the  larger  heaths  and  the  Tamarix  Gallica  of  LinnaBiis.  M.  Fraas,  as 
Littre  states,  gives  the  Tamarix  Africana  as  the  probable  synonym  of  the 
Myrica  of  Pliny. 

80 .  Of  this  broom-plant  of  Ameria  nothing  is  known. 

81  This  cannot  apply  to  any  of  the  heaths  of  Europe.  The  tamarisk 
grows  to  a  much  larger  size,  and  barrels  and  drinking  vessels  are  made  of 
the  wood. 

30  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOKY.         [Book  XXIV. 

in  maladies  of  the  spleen  victuals  and  drink  are  given  to  the 
patient  in  vessels  made  of  this  wood. 

A  medical  author  too,  of  high  repute,82  has  asserted  that  a 
sprig  broken  from  off  this  tree,  without  being  allowed  to  touch 
the  earth  or  iron,  will  allay  pains  in  the  bowels,  if  applied  to 
the  body,  and  kept  close  to  it  by  the  clothes  and  girdle.  The 
common  people,  as  already83  stated,  look  upon  this  tree  as  ill- 
omened,  because  it  bears  no  fruit,  and  is  never  propagated 
from  seed. 


At  Corinth,  and  in  the  vicinity  of  that  city,  the  Greeks  give 
the  name  of  "  brya"84  to  a  plant  of  which  there  are  two 
varieties  ;  the  wild  brya,85  which  is  altogether  barren,  and  the 
cultivated  one.86  This  last,  when  found  in  Syria  and  Egypt, 
produces  a  ligneous  fruit,  somewhat  larger  than  a  gall-nut,  in 
great  abundance,  and  of  an  acrid  flavour ;  medical  men  employ 
it  as  a  substitute  for  galls  in  the  compositions  known  as 
"  antheraB."87  The  wood  also,  with  the  blossoms,  leaves,  and 
bark  of  the  tree,  is  used  for  similar  purposes,  but  their  pro- 
perties are  not  so  strongly  developed.  The  bark  is  pounded 
also,  and  given  for88  discharges  of  blood  from  the  mouth,  irre- 
gularities of  the  catamenia,  and  cosliac  affections  :  beaten  up 
and  applied  to  the  part  affected,  it  checks  the  increase  of  all 
kinds  of  abscesses. 

The  juice  too  is  extracted  from  the  leaves  for  similar  pur- 
poses,  and  a  decoction  is  made  of  them  in  wine ;  they  are  ap- 
plied also  to  gangrenes,  in  combination  with  honey.  A  de- 
coction of  them  taken  in  wine,  or  the  leaves  themselves  ap- 
plied with  oil  of  roses  and  wax,  has  a  sedative  effect :  it  is  in 
this  form  that  they  are  used  for  the  cure  of  epinyctis.  This 
decoction  is  useful  also  for  tooth- ache  or  ear-ache,  and  the  root 

82  "  Gravis."  He  does  not,  however,  show  his  gravity  in  the  present  in- 
stance. 83  In  B.  xvi.  c.  45. 

84  See  B.  xiii.  c.  37. 

85  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Tamarix  Gallica. 

86  The  "  brya,"  spoken  of  in  B.  xiii.  c.  37,  as  growing  in  Achaia  also, 
the  Tamarix  orientalis  of  Delille.     But  there  he  implies  that  it  does  not 
produce  any  fruit  when  it  grows  in  Egypt. 

S7  "  Flower  compositions." 

8S  It  may  possibly  be  of  some  use  for  this  purpose,  being  of  an  astrin- 
gent nature. 

Chap.  44.]  THE    SILEK.  31 

is  employed  for  similar  purposes.  The  leaves  too  have  this 
additional  use — they  are  applied  with  polenta  to  serpiginous 
sores.  The  seed,  in  doses  of  one  drachma,  is  administered  in 
drink  for  injuries  inflicted  by  spiders  or  the  phalangium ;  and 
mixed  with  the  grease  of  poultry,  it  is  applied  to  boils.  It  is 
very  efficacious  also  for  stings  inflicted  by  all  kinds  of  ser- 
pents, the  asp  excepted.  The  decoction,  used  as  a  fomentation, 
is  curative  of  jaundice,  phthiriasis,  and  lice;  it  also  arrests 
the  catamenia  when  in  excess.  The  ashes  of  the  tree  are 
employed  for  all  these  purposes;  there  is  a  story  told,  too, 
that,  mixed  with  the  urine  of  an  ox,  and  taken  in  the  food  or 
drink,  they  will  act  most  effectually  as  an  antaphrodisiac. 
The  charcoal  too  of  this  wood  is  quenched  in  urine  of  a  similar 
nature,  and  kept  in  a  shady  spot.  When  it  is  the  intention  of 
the  party  to  rekindle  the  flames89  of  desire,  it  is  set  on  fire 
again.  The  magicians  say,90  that  the  urine  of  an  eunuch  will 
have  a  similar  effect. 

CHAP.  43. — THE   BLOOD-RED    SHRUB  :    ONE    KEMEDT. 

Nor  is  the  blood-red91  shrub  looked  upon  as  a  less  ill- 
omened92  plant  than  the  last.  The  inner  bark  of  it  is  used  to 
re-open  ulcers  which  have  healed  too  rapidly. 


The  leaves  of  the  siler,93  applied  to  the  forehead,  allay 
head-ache ;  and  the  seed  of  it,  beaten  up  with  oil,  is  curative 
of  phthiriasis.  Serpents  also  are  greatly  in  dread  of  this  tree, 
and  it  is  for  this  reason  that  the  country-people  are  in  the 
habit  of  carrying  a  walking-stick  made  of  it. 

89  This  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  "  Idem  cum  liheat  accendere  re- 
solvitur,"  though  in  the  French  translations  it  is  rendered,   "  It  crumbles 
into  ashes  when  an  attempt  is  made  to  kindle  it."     Holland  seems  to  have 
rightly  understood  the  passage,  which  probably  bears  reference  to  some 
current  superstition. 

90  "  Magi."     He  probably  alludes  in  this  passage  to  the  Magi  of  the 
East.  91  See  B.  xvi.  cc.  30,  43. 

3a  The  cornel,  probably.  It  was  looked  upon  as  "  infelix,"  or  ill-omened, 
because  it  was  sacred  to  the  Deities  of  the  infernal  regions. 

93  See  B.  xvi.  c.  31.  If  this  is  the  Salix  vitellina,  Fee  says,  all  that 
Pliny  here  states,  as  to  its  medicinal  properties  does  not  merit  the  slightest 



The  ligustrum,  or  privet,  if  it  is  the  same  tree  as  the  Cyprus93 
of  the  East,  has  also  its  own  medicinal  uses  in  Europe.  The 
juice  of  it  is  used  for  affections  of  the  sinews  and  joints,  and 
for  sudden  chills ;  and  the  leaves  are  universally  employed, 
with  a  sprinkling  of  salt,  for  the  cure  of  inveterate  sores  and 
of  ulcerations  of  the  mouth.  The  berries  are  curative  of 
phthiriasis  and  chafings  between  the  thighs,  for  which  last 
purpose  the  leaves  also  are  employed.  The  berries  are  made 
use  of  for  the  cure  of  pip  in  poultry.94 


The  leaves  of  the  alder,  steeped  in  boiling  water,  are  an 
undoubted  remedy  for  tumours. 



"We  have  already95  enumerated  some  twenty  varieties  of  the 
ivy.  The  medicinal  properties  of  them  all  are  of  a  doubtful 
nature ;  taken  in  considerable  quantities  they  disturb  the 
mental  faculties  and  purge  the  brain.  Taken  internally  they 
are  injurious  to  the  sinews,96  but  applied  topically  they  are 
beneficial  to  those  parts  of  the  body.  Ivy  possesses  properties 
similar97  to  those  of  vinegar.  All  the  varieties  of  the  ivy  are 
of  a  refrigerative  nature,  and  taken  in  drink  they  are  diuretic. 
The  softer  leaves,  applied  to  the  head,  allay  head-ache,  acting 
more  particularly  upon  the  brain  and  the  membrane  which 
envelopes  that  organ.  Eor  this  purpose  the  leaves  are  bruised 
with  vinegar  and  oil  of  roses  and  then  boiled,  after  which  som  e 
more  rose-oil  is  added.  The  leaves  too  are  applied  to  the  fore- 

93  See  B.  xii.  c.  51.      The  botanical  characteristics,  Fee  says,  and  the 
medicinal  properties  of  the  privet,  differ  essentially  from  those  of  the  Cypros 
or  Lawsonia  inermis.     The  leaves  of  the  privet  are  bitter  and  astringent. 

94  Fee  says,  that  on  reading  this  passage  it  is  impossible  to  preserve  one's 

95  In  B.  xvi.  c.  62.     The  ivy  is  but  little  used  for  any  of  the  purposes 
of  modern  medicine.     It  is  said  by  some  authorities  that  a  decoction  of  the 
leaves  will  kill  vermin,  and  that  the  berries  are  purgative  and  emetic. 

96  "Nervis." 

97  Fee  states  that  in  reality  no  such  similarity  exists  ;  but  that  acetic  acid 
is  sometimes  developed  by  the  rapid  fermentation  of  the  jiiices  of  a  great 
number  of  vegetable  substances. 

Chap.  47.]  THE   IVY.  33 

head,  and  the  mouth  is  fomented  with  a  decoction  of  them,  -with 
which  the  head  is  rubbed  as  well.  They  are  useful  also  for 
the  spleen,  the  leaves  being  applied  topically,  or  an  infusion 
of  them  taken  in  drink.  A  decoction  of  them  is  used  for 
cold  shiverings  in  fevers,  and  for  pituitous  eruptions  ;  or  else 
they  are  beaten  up  in  wine  for  the  purpose.  The  umbels  too, 
taken  in  drink  or  applied  externally,  are  good  for  affections  of 
the  spleen,  and  an  application  of  them  is  useful  for  the  liver ; 
employed  as  a  pessary,  they  act  as  an  emmenagogue. 

The  juice  of  the  ivy,  the  white  cultivated  kind  more  par- 
ticularly, cures  diseases  of  the  nostrils  and  removes  habitually 
offensive  smells.  Injected  into  the  nostrils  it  purges  the  head, 
and  with  the  addition  of  nitre  it  is  still  more  efficacious  for  that 
purpose.  In  combination  with  oil,  the  juice  is  injected  for 
suppurations  or  pains  in  the  ears.  It  is  a  corrective  also  of  the 
deformities  of  scars.  The  juice  of  white  ivy,  heated  with  the 
aid  of  iron,  is  still  more  efficacious  for  affections  of  the  spleen; 
it  will  be  found  sufficient,  however,  to  take  six  of  the  berries  in 
two  cyathi  of  wine.  Three  berries  of  the  white  ivy,  taken  in 
4  oxymel,  expel  tape-worm,  and  in  the  treatment  of  such  cases 
it  is  a  good  plan  to  apply  them  to  the  abdomen  as  well. 
Erasistratus  prescribes  twenty  of  the  golden-coloured  berries  of 
the  ivy  which  we  have-mentioned  as  the  "  chrysocarpos,"98  to  be 
beaten  up  in  one  sextarius  of  wine,  and  he  says  that  if  three 
cyathi  of  this  preparation  are  taken  for  dropsy,  it  will  carry  off 
by  urine  the  water  that  has  been  secreted  beneath  the  skin. 
For  cases  of  tooth-ache  he  recommends  five  berries  of  the 
chrysocarpos  to  be  beaten  up  in  oil  of  roses,  and  warmed  in  a 
pomegranate-rind,  and  then  injected  into  the  ear  opposite  the 
side  affected.  The  berries  which  yield  a  juice  of  a  saffron 
colour,  taken  beforehand  in  drink,  are  a  preservative  against 
crapulence ;  they  are  curative  also  of  spitting  of  blood  and  of 
griping  pains  in  the  bowels.  The  whiter  umbels  of  the  black 
ivy,  taken  in  drink,  are  productive  of  sterility,  in  males  even. 
A  decoction  in  wine  of  any  kind  of  ivy  is  useful  as  a  liniment 
for  all  sorts  of  ulcers,  those  even  of  the  malignant  kind  known 
as  "  cacoethes."  The  tears"  which  distil  from  the  ivy  are  used 

98  "  Golden  fruit."     See  B.  xvi.  c.  62. 

99  The  same  substance  which  he  speaks  of  at  the  end  of  this  Chapter  as 
the  gum  of  ivy,  called  "  hederine,"  Fee  says,  in  modern  chemistry.     It 
is  a  gum  resin,  mixed  with  ligneous  particles. 

VOL.    V.  7) 

34  PLINY*  S    NATURAL    HISTORY.  [Book  XXIV. 

as  a  depilatory,  and  for  the  cure  of  phthiriasis.  The  blossoms 
too,  of  all  the  varieties,  taken  twice  a  day  in  astringent  wine, 
a  pinch  in  three  fingers  at  a  time,  are  curative  of  dysentery 
and  looseness  of  the  bowels :  they  are  very  useful  also,  applied 
to  burns  with  wax.  The  umbels  stain  the  hair  black.  The 
juice  extracted  from  the  root  is  taken  in  vinegar  for  the  cure 
of  wounds  inflicted  by  the  phalangium.  I  find  it  stated  too, 
that  patients  suffering  from  affections  of  the  spleen  are  cured 
by  drinking  from  vessels  made  of  the  wood  of  the  ivy.  The 
berries  are  bruised  also,  and  then  burnt,  and  a  liniment  is 
prepared  from  them  for  burns,  the  parts  being  fomented  with 
warm  wrater  first. 

Incisions  are  sometimes  made  in  the  ivy  to  obtain  the  juice, 
which  is  used  for  carious  teeth,  it  having  the  effect  of  breaking 
them,  it  is  said  ;  the  adjoining  teeth  being  fortified  with  wax 
against  the  powerful  action  of  the  juice.  A  kind  of  gum  even 
is  said  to  be  found  in  the  ivy,  which,  it  is  asserted,  is  extremely 
useful,  mixed  with  vinegar,  for  the  teeth. 


The  Greeks  give  the  name  of  "  cisthos" — a  word  very 
similar  to"eissos,"  the  Greek  name  of  the  ivy- — to  a  plant 
which  is  somewhat  larger  than  thyme,  and  has  a  leaf  like  that 
of  ocimum.  There  are  two  varieties  of  this  plant  ;  the  male,1 
which  has  a  rose-coloured  blossom,  and  the  female,2  with  a 
white  one.  The  blossom  of  either  kind,  taken  in  astringent 
wine,  a  pinch  in  three  fingers  at  a  time,  is  good  for  dysentery 
and  looseness  of  the  bowels.  Taken  in  a  similar  manner 
twice  a  day,  it  is  curative  of  inveterate  ulcers :  used  with 
wax,  it  heals  burns,  and  employed  by  itself  it  cures  ulcer- 
ations  of  the  mouth.  It  is  beneath  these  plants  more  par- 
ticularly that  the  hypocisthis  grows,  of  which  we  shall  have 
occasion3  to  speak  when  treating  of  the  herbs. 

CHAP.     49. THE     CISSOS    ERYTHRANOS  I      TWO     REMEDIES.        THE 

CHAM^ECISSOS  :     TWO    REMEDIES.         THE     SMILAX  :      THREE     RE- 

The  plant  called  "  cissos  erythranos  "4  by  the  Greeks,  is 

1  The  Cistus  pilosus  of  Linneeus,  the  wild  eglantine,  or  rock-rose. 

2  The  Cistus  salvifolius  of  Linnaeus. 

3  In  B.  xxvi.  cc.  31,  49,  87,  and  90. 

4  "  Ked-berried "  or  "  red-leaved  ivy."     See  B.  xvi.  c.  62.     This  kind, 
Fee  says,  appears  not  to  have  been  identified. 

Chap.  50.]  THE  REED.  35 

similar  to  the  ivy :  taken  in  wine,  it  is  good  for  sciatica  and 
lumbago.  The  berries,  it  is  said,  are  of  so  powerful  a  nature 
as  to  produce  bloody  urine.  "  Chamaecissos  "5  also  is  a  name 
given  by  them  to  a  creeping  ivy  which  never  rises  from  the 
surface  of  the  ground :  bruised  in  wine,  in  doses  of  one  aoe- 
tabulum,  it  is  curative  of  affections  of  the  spleen,  the  leaves 
of  it  being  applied  topically  with  axle-grease  to  burns. 

The  smilax6  also,  otherwise  known  as  the  "  anthophoros,"7 
has  a  strong  resemblance  to  ivy,  but  the  leaves  of  it  are  smaller. 
A  chaplet,  they  say,  made  of  an  uneven  number  of  the  leaves, 
is  an  effectual  cure  for  head-ache.  Some  writers  mention  two 
kinds  of  smilax,  one  of  which  is  all  but  perennial,  and  is  found 
climbing  the  trees  in  umbrageous  valleys,  the  berries  hanging 
in  clusters.  These  berries,  they  say,  are  remarkably  efficacious 
for  all  kinds  of  poisons ;  so  much  so  indeed,  that  infants  to 
whom  the  juice  of  them  has  been  habitually  administered,  are 
rendered  proof  against  all  poisons  for  the  rest  of  their  life. 
The  other  kind,  it  is  said,  manifests  a  predilection  for  cultivated 
localities,  and  is  often  found  growing  there ;  but  as  for  medicinal 
properties,  it  has  none.  The  former  kind,  they  say,  is  the 
smilax,  the  wood  of  which  we  have  mentioned8  as  emitting  a 
sound,  if  held  close  to  the  ear. 

Another  plant,  similar  to  this,  they  call  by  the  name  of 
"  clematis  :"9  it  is  found  adhering  to  trees,  and  has  a  jointed 
stem.  The  leaves  of  it  cleanse  leprous10  sores,  and  the  seed 
acts  as  an  aperient,  taken  in  doses  of  one  acetabulum,  in  one 
hemina  of  water,  or  in  hydromel.  A  decoction  of  it  is  pre- 
scribed also  for  a  similar  purpose. 


We  have  already11  treated  of  twenty-nine  varieties  of  the 
reed,  and  there  is  none  of  her  productions  in  which  that 

5  "Ground-ivy."      See  B.  xvi.    c.  62,    Note  17.      M.  Fraas  adopts 
Sprengel's  opinion  that  it  is  the  Antirrhinum  Azarina,  the  bastard  asarum. 

6  See  B.  xvi.  c.  63.  7  "  Flower-bearer." 

8  In  B.  xvi.  c.  63. 

9  Sprengel  thinks  that  this  is  the  Clematis  viticella,  hut  Fee  identifies 
it  with  the  Clematis  vitalba  of  Linnaeus,  the  climber,  or  traveller's  joy. 

10  The  leaves  of  it,  Fee  says,  are  of  a  caustic  nature,  and  have  been 
employed  before  now  by  impostors  for  producing  sores  on  the  skin  of  a 
frisrhtful  appearance,  but  easily  healed. 

11  In  B.  xvi.  c.  34. 

D    2 

36  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOKT.         [Book  XXIV. 

mighty  power  of  Mature,12  which  in  our  successive  Books  we 
have  described,  is  more  fully  displayed  than  in  this.  The 
root  of  the  reed,  pounded  and  applied  to  the  part  affected, 
extracts  the  prickles  of  fern  from  the  body,  the  root  of  the 
fern  having  a  similar  effect  upon  splinters  of  the  reed.  Among 
the  numerous  varieties  which  we  have  described,  the  scented 
reed13  which  is  grown  in  Judaea  and  Syria  as  an  ingredient  in 
our  unguents,  boiled  with  hay-grass  or  parsley-seed,  has  a 
diuretic  effect :  employed  as  a  pessary,  it  acts  as  an  emmena- 
gogue.  Taken  in  drink,  in  doses  of  two  oboli,  it  is  curative 
of  convulsions,  diseases  of  the  liver  and  kidneys,  and  dropsy. 
Used  as  a  fumigation,  and  with  resin  more  particularly,  it  is 
good  for  coughs,  and  a  decoction  of  it  with  myrrh  is  useful  for 
scaly  eruptions  and  running  ulcers.  A  juice,  too,  is  collected 
from  it  which  has  similar  properties  to  those  of  elaterium.14 

In  every  kind  of  reed  the  part  that  is  the  most  efficacious  is 
that  which  lies  nearest  the  root ;  the  joints  also  are  efficacious 
in  a  high  degree.  The  ashes  of  the  Cyprian  reed  known  as 
the  "donax,"15  are  curative  of  alopecy  and  putrid  ulcers. 
The  leaves  of  it  are  also  used  for  the  extraction1*  of  pointed 
bodies  from  the  flesh,  and  for  erysipelas  and  all  kinds  of 
gatherings.  The  common  reed,  beaten  up  quite  fresh,  has 
also  considerable  extractive  powers,  and  not  in  the  root  only, 
for  the  stem,  it  is  said,  has  a  similar  property.  The  root  is 
used  also  in  vinegar  as  a  topical  application  for  sprains  and 
for  pains  in  the  spine ;  and  beaten  up  fresh  and  taken  in  wine  it 
acts  as  an  aphrodisiac.  The  down  that  grows  on  reeds,  put 
into  the  ears,  deadens  the  hearing.17 

CHAP.     51. THE     PAPYRUS,     AND     THE     PAPER    MADE    FROM     IT  I 


Of  a  kindred  nature  with  the  reed  is  the  papyrus18  of 
Egypt ;  a  plant  that  is  remarkably  useful,  in  a  dried  state,  for 

12  Sympathies  and  antipathies  existing  in  plants.     See  c.  1  of  tin's  Book. 

13  Not  a  reed,  Fee  thinks,  but  some  other  monocotyledon  that  has  not 
been  identified.     See  B.  xii.  c.  48. 

14  See  B.  xx.  c.  3.  15  See  B.  xvi.  e.  66. 

16  Celsus  also  speaks  of  the  root  of  the  reed  as  heing  efficacious  for  this 
purpose,  B.  v.  c.  26. 

^  Fee  says  that  neither  of  these  last  assertions  is  true. 
13  See  B.  xiii.  c.  21,     It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine. 

Chap.  53.]  THE   ItHOBODENDIlOX.  37 

dilating  and  drying  up  fistulas,  and,  by  its  expansive  powers, 
opening  an  entrance  for  the  necessary  medicaments.  The 
ashes l9  of  paper  prepared  from  the  papyrus  are  reckoned  among 
the  caustics  :  those  of  the  plant,  taken  in  wine,  have  a 
narcotic  effect.  The  plant,  applied  topically  in  water,  removes 
callosities  of  the  skin. 


The  ebony- tree20  does  not  grow  in  Egypt  even,  as  we  have 
already  stated,  and  it  is  not  our  intention  to  speak  here  of  the 
medicinal  properties  of  the  vegetable  productions  of  foreign  cli- 
mates. Still,  however,  the  ebony  must  not  be  omitted,  on 
account  of  the  marvels  related  of  it.  The  saw- dust  of  this 
wood,  it  is  said,  is  a  sovereign  remedy  for  diseases  of  the  eyes, 
and  the  pulp  of  the  wood,  rubbed  upon  a  whetstone  moistened 
with  raisin  wine,  dispels  all  films  which  impede  the  sight. 
The  root  too,  they  say,  applied  with  water,  is  curative  of 
white  specks  in  the  eyes,  and,  with  the  addition  of  root  of 
dracunculus, 21  in  equal  proportions,  and  of  honey,  of  cough. 
Medical  men  reckon  ebony  also  in  the  number  of  the  caustics.22 


The  rhododendron23  has  not  so  much  as  found  a  Latin  name 
among  us,  its  other  names  being  "  rhododaphne  "24  and 
"nerium."  It  is  a  marvellous  fact,  but  the  leaves25  of  this 
plant  are  poisonous  to  quadrupeds ;  while  for  man,  if  taken  in 
wine  with  rue,  they  are  an  effectual  preservative  against  the 
venom  of  serpents.  Sheep  too,  and  goats,  it  is  said,  if  they 
drink  water  in  which  the  leaves  have  been  steeped,  will  die 

19  These  statements  as  to  the  virtues  of  the  ashes  of  papyrus,  F£e  says, 
are  absurd. 

20  See  B.  xii.  c.  8.     Desfontaines  is  inclined  to  identify  the  tree  here 
spoken  of  with  the  Diospyros  ebenaster  of  Kcenig. 

21  See  c.  91  of  this  Book  ;  the  Artemisia  dracunculus  of  Linnaeus. 

22  "  Erodentia."      Fee  remarks  upon  the  singularity,  that  with  this 
property  attributed  to  it,  it  should  be  recommended  for  diseases  of  the  eyes. 

23  The  "rose-tree."     Our  rose-bay  or  oleander.  24  "Rose-laurel." 
25  See  B.  xvi.  c.  33.     It  is,  Fee  says,  an  energetic  poison,  but  as  in- 
jurious to  man  as  it  is  to  animals. 

38  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 



^or  yet  has  the  tree  called  "rhus"26  any  Latin  name,  al- 
though it  is  employed  in  numerous  ways.  Under  this  name 
are  comprehended  a  wild  plant,27  with  leaves  like  those  of 
myrtle,  and  a  short  stem,  which  is  good  as  an  expellent  of 
tapeworm  ;  and  the  shrub28  which  is  known  as  the  "  currier's 
plant,"  of  a  reddish  colour,  a  cuhit  in  height,  and  about  the 
thickness  of  one's  finger,  the  leaves  of  which  are  dried  and 
used,  like  pomegranate  rind,  for  curing  leather. 

Medical  men  also  employ  the  leaves  of  these  plants  for  the 
treatment  of  contusions,  and  for  the  cure  of  cosliac  affections, 
and  of  ulcers  of  the  rectum  and  phagedaenic  sores  ;  for  all  which 
purposes  they  are  pounded  with  honey  and  applied  with 
vinegar.  A  decoction  of  them  is  injected  for  suppurations  of 
the  ears.  With  the  branches,  boiled,  a  stomatice29  is  also  made, 
which  is  used  for  the  eame  purposes  as  that  prepared  from 
mulberries  ;3U  it  is  more  efficacious,  however,  mixed  with  alum. 
This  preparation  is  applied  also  toreducethe  swelling  in  dropsy. 


"Rhus31  erythros  is  the  name  given  to  the  seed  of  this  shrub. 
It  possesses  properties  of  an  astringent  and  cooling  nature,  and 
is  used  as  a  seasoning32  for  provisions,  in  place  of  salt.  It  has 
a  laxative  effect,  and,  used  in  conjunction  with  silphium,  it 
gives  a  finer  flavour  to  meat  of  all  kinds.  Mixed  with  honey, 
it  is  curative  of  running  ulcers,  pimples  on  the  tongue,33  con- 
tusions, bruises,  and  excoriations.  It  causes  ulcers  of  the 
head  to  cicatrize  with  the  greatest  rapidity ;  and  taken  with 
the  food,  it  arrests  excessive  menstruation. 


The  erythrodanus,34  by  some  called  "  ereuthodanus,"  and 

26  See  B»  xiii.  c.  13.     The  sumach-tree  ;  the  Rhus  coriaria  of  Linnams. 
r  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Coriaria  myrtifolia  of  Linnaeus,  or  myrtle- 
leaved  sumach.    It  is  used  in  the  preparation  of  leather,  Fee  says,  and  is 
intensely  poisonous.  28  The  sumach-tree. 

29  Or  <•  mouth-medicine."    See  B.  xxii.  c.  11,  and  B.  xxiii.  cc.  58  and  71. 

30  See  B.  xxiii.  c.  71.  31  Or  "  ros."     See  B.  xiii.  c.  13, 
12  Fee  says  that  this  is  still  done  in  some  parts  of  Turkey. 

w  «  Asperitati  linguae." 

•^  u  Bed  rose ;"  our  madder.      See  B.  xix.  c.   17.     Beckmann  is  of 

Chap.  58.]  THE   RADICULA.  39 

in  Latin,  "rubia,"  is  quite  a  different  plant.  It  is  used  for 
dyeing  wool,  and  skins  for  leather  are  prepared  with  it.  Used 
medicinally,  it  is  a  diuretic,  and,  employed  with  hydromel,  it 
is  curative  of  jaundice.35  Employed  topically  with  vinegar, 
it  heals  lichens  ;  and  a  potion  is  prepared  from  it  for  sciatica 
and  paralysis,  the  patient  while  using  it  taking  a  bath  daily. 
The  root  of  it  and  the  seed  are  effectual  as  an  emmenagogue  ; 
they  act  astringently  upon  the  bowels,  and  disperse  gatherings. 
The  branches,  together  with  the  leaves,  are  applied  to  wounds 
inflicted  by  serpents ;  the  leaves  too  have  the  property  of 
staining  the  hair.36  I  find  it  stated  by  some  writers  that  this 
shrub  is  curative  of  jaundice,  even  if  worn  as  an  amulet  only, 
and  looked  at  every  now  and  then. 


The  plant  known  as  the  "alysson"37  differs  only  from  the 
preceding  one  in  the  leaves  and  branches,  which  are  more  di- 
minutive. It  receives  its  name  from  the  fact,  that,  taken  in 
vinegar  and  worn  as  an  amulet,  .it  prevents  persons  bitten  by 
dogs  from  becoming  rabid.  It  is  a  marvellous  fact  too,  that  is 
added,  to  the  effect  that  the  person  bitten  has  only  to  look 
at  this  shrub,  and  the  flow  of  corrupt  matter  from  the  wound 
will  be  staunched  immediately. 



The  radicula,  which  we  have  already38  mentioned  as  being 
called  "struthion"  by  the  Greeks,  is  used  by  dyers  for  pre- 
paring wool.  A  decoction  of  it,  taken  internally,  is  curative 
of  jaundice  and  diseases  of  the  chest.  It  is  diuretic  also,  and 
laxative,  and  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  the  uterus,  for  which 
reasons  medical  men  have  given  it  the  name  of  the  "golden 

opinion  that  the  "  sandix"  of  B.  xxxv.  c.  12,  is  our  madder,  and  identical 
with  the  Eubia.  It  is  not  improbable,  however,  that  in  reality  it  was  a 
mineral.  See  Beckmann's  Hist.  Inv.  Vol.  II.  p.  110,  Bohn's  Ed. 

35  Fee  says  that  it  does  not  possess  this  property. 

36  Madder  has  no  colouring  matter  which  can  produce  any  effect  upon 
the  hair. 

37  Or  "  anti-frantic "  plant.     C.  Bauhin  identifies  it  with  the  Rubia 
silvestris  Isevis,  or  wild  madder  ;  Fee  is  at  a  loss  for  its  identification,  but 
is  inclined  to  think  that  it  was  a  species  of  cultivated  madder. 

38  In  B.  xix.  c.  18.     The  Gypsophila  struthium,  or  soap-plant,  possibly. 
Its  identity  is  discussed  at  great  length  by  Beckmann,  Hist.  Inv.  Vol.  ll. 
p.  98—102,  Eohn's  Ed. 

40  PLFNY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 

beverage."39  Taken  with  honey,  it  is  a  sovereign  remedy  for 
cough ;  and  it  is  used  for  hardness  of  breathing,  in  doses  of  a 
spoonful.  Applied  with  polenta  and  vinegar  to  the  parts 
affected,  it  removes  leprous  sores.  Used  with  panax  and  root 
of  the  caper-plant,  it  breaks  and  expels  calculi,  and  a  decoction 
of  it  in  wine  with  barley-meal  disperses  inflamed  tumours.  It 
is  used  as  an  ingredient  in  emollient  plasters  and  eye-salves 
for  the  sight,  and  is  found  to  be  one  of  the  most  useful  sternu- 
tories  known  ;  it  is  good  too  for  the  liver  and  the  spleen.  Taken 
in  hydrorael,  in  doses  of  one  denarius,  it  effects  the  cure  of 
asthma,  as  also  of  pleurisy  and  all  pains  in  the  sides. 

The  apocynum40  is  a  shrub  with  leaves  like  those  of  ivy,  but 
softer,  and  not  so  long  in  the  stalk,  and  the  seed  of  it  is 
pointed  and  downy,  with  a  division  running  down  it,  and  a 
very  powerful  smell.  Given  in  their  food  with  water,  the  seed 
is  poisonous41  to  dogs  and  all  other  quadrupeds. 


There  are  two  kinds  of  rosemary  ;  one  of  which  is  barren, 
and  the  other  has  a  stem  with  a  resinous  seed,  known  as 
"cachrys."  The  leaves  have  the  odour  of  frankincense.43 
The  root,  applied  fresh,  effects  the  cure  of  wounds,  prolapsus 
of  the  rectum,  condylomata,  and  piles.  The  juice  of  the 
plant,  as  well  as  of  the  root,  is  curative  of  jaundice,  and  such 
diseases  as  require  detergents  ;  it  is  useful  also  for  the  sight. 
The  seed  is  given  in  drink  for  inveterate  diseases  of  the  chest, 
and,  with  wine  and  pepper,  for  affections  of  the  uterus ;  it 
acts  also  as  an  emmenagogue,  and  is  used  with  meal  of  darnel 
as  a  liniment  for  gout.  It  acts  also  as  a  detergent  upon 
freckles,  and  is  used  as  an  application  in  diseases  which 
require  calorifics  or  sudorifics,  and  for  convulsions.  The  plant 
itself,  or  else  the  root,  taken  in  wine,  increases  the  milk,  and 
the  leaves  and  stem  of  the  plant  are  applied  with  vinegar 
to  scrofulous  sores ;  used  with  honey,  they  are  very  useful  for 

3'J  "  Aureum  poculum." 

40  Desfontaines  says  that  it  is  the  Periploca  angustifolia ;   Fee  gives  the 
Apocynum  folio  subrotundo  of  C.  Bauhin,  round  leafed  dogsbaue. 

41  This  is  the  fact ;  and  hence  one  of  its  names  **  cynanche,"  or  "  dog- 

42  This,  .Fee  says,  is  the  fact.     The  plant  is  rich  in  essential  oil,  and  is 
consequently  a  powerful  excitant.     See  B.  xix.  c.  62. 

Chap.  62.]  SKLAGO.  41 


As  already43  stated,  there  are  several  kinds  of  cachrys  ;44 
but  that  which  is  produced  by  rosemary  above-mentioned, 
when  rubbed,  is  found  to  be  of  a  resinous  nature.  It  neu- 
tralizes poisons  and  the  venom  of  animals,  that  of  serpents 
exoepted.  It  acts  also  as  a  sudorific,  dispels  griping  pains  in 
the  bowels,  and  increases  the  milk  in  nursing  women. 


Of  the  herb  savin,  known  as  "  brathy"  by  the  Greeks,45  there 
are  two  varieties,  one  of  them46  with  a  leaf  like  that  of  the 
tamarix,  the  other47  with  that  of  the  cypress  ;  for  which  reason 
some  persons  have  called  this  last  the  Cretan  cypress.  It  is 
used  by  many  for  fumigations,  as  a  substitute  for  frankin- 
cense;48 employed  in  medicine,  it  is  said  to  have  the  same  effect 
as  cinnamon,  if  taken  in  doses  twice  as  large!  It  reduces 
gatherings,  disperses  corrosive  sores,  acts  as  a  detergent  upon 
ulcers,  and,  used  as  a  pessaiy  and  as  a  fumigation,  brings  away 
the  dead  foetus.49  It  is  employed  as  a  topical  application  for 
erysipelas  and  carbuncles,  and,  taken  with  honey  in  wine,  is 
curative  of  jaundice. 

The  smoke  of  this  plant,  they  say,  cures  the  pip  in  all  kinds 
of  poultry.50 

CHAP.   62. — SELAGO  :    TWO  REMEDIES. 

Similar  to  savin  is  the  herb  known  as  "selago."*1     Care  is 

43  In  B.  xvi.  c.  11. 

44  A  gall  or  fungoid  production,  or>  in  some  instances,  a  catkin.     Fee 
says  that  Pliny  has  committed  an  error  here  in  attributing  a  cachrys  to 
rosemary,  the  Libanotis    stephanomaticos,  which,  in  reality,  belongs  to 
the  Libanotis  canchryphorus  or  Libanotis  prima. 

45  So  called  from  the  Greek  fipadv,  "  slow,"  according  to  some  au- 
thorities ;  by  reason  of  the  slowness  of  its  growth. 

46  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Sabina  vulgatior  of  Lobelius,  or  Juniperus 
Sabina,  variety  /3,  of  Lamarck. 

47  The  Sabina  baceifera  of  J.  Bauhin,  the  male  savin,  the  type  of  the 

48  See  Ovid's  Fasti,  B.  i.  1.  341,  as  to  this  custom,  and  Virgil's  "  Culex," 
1.  403. 

49  Jt  is  still  a  common  notion,  though  Fee  says  an  ill-founded  one,  that 
it  produces  abortion.     Indeed  we  find  Galen  stating  to  the  same  effect. 

60  Fee  ridicules  this  notion  with  considerable  zest. 

61  The  Lycopodium  selago  of  Linnaeus,  upright  club-moss,  or  fir-  moss, 

42  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 

taken  to  gather  it  without  the  use  of  iron,  the  right  hand 
being  passed  for  the  purpose  through  the  left  sleeve  of  the 
tunic,  as  though  the  gatherer  were  in  the  act  of  committing  a 
theft.52  The  clothing  too  must  be  white,  the  feet  bare  and 
washed  clean,  and  a  sacrifice  of  bread  and  wine  must  be  made 
before  gathering  it :  it  is  carried  also  in  a  new  napkin.  The 
Druids  of  Gaul  have  pretended  that  this  plant  should  be 
carried  about  the  person  as  a  preservative  against  accidents  of 
all  kinds,  and  that  the  smoke  of  it  is  extremely  good  for  all 
maladies  of  the  eyes. 


The  Druids,  also,  have  given  the  name  of  "  samolus''53  to  a 
certain  plant  which  grows  in  humid  localities.  This  too,  they 
say,  must  be  gathered  fasting  with  the  left  hand,  as  a  pre- 
servative against  the  maladies  to  which  swine  and  cattle  are 
subject.  The  person,  too,  who  gathers  it  must  be  careful  not 
to  look  behind  him,  nor  must  it  be  laid  anywhere  but  in  the 
troughs  from  which  the  cattle  drink. 


We  have  already**  spoken  of  the  different  kinds  of  gum  ; 
the  better  sort  of  each  kind  will  be  found  the  most  effective. 
Gum  is  bad  for  the  teeth ;  it  tends  to  make  the  blood  coagu- 
late, and  is  consequently  good  for  discharges65  of  blood  from 
the  mouth.  It  is  useful  for  burns,56  but  is  bad  for  diseases  of 
the  trachea.  It  exercises  a  diuretic  effect,  and  tends  to 
neutralize  all  acridities,  being  astringent  in  other  respects. 
The-  gum  of  the  bitter-almond  tree,  which  has  the  most57 

according  to  Sprengel.  Fee,  however,  dissents  from  that  opinion,  for  the 
Lycopodium,  he  says,  is  but  some  three  inches  in  height,  while  savin,  with 
which  the  Selago  is  here  compared,  is  more  than  eight  or  ten  feet  high.  De 
Theis  (Gloss.  Botan.)  thinks  that  it  must  have  been  a  succulent  plant ;  but 
upon  what  grounds  he  bases  that  conjecture,  Fee  declares  himself  at  a  loss 
to  conjecture. 

52  Evidently  a  superstition  derived  from  the  Druids. 

53  Sprengel  thinks  that  it  is  the  Samolus  Valerandi  of  Linnaeus,  the  round- 
leaved  water-pimpernel,  and  Anguillara  identifies  it  with  the  Anemone  pul- 
satilla,  or  pasque-flower.    Fee  inclines  to  the  opinion  that  it  is  the  Veronica 
beceubunga  of  Linnaeus,  the  brook-lime. 

54  In  B.  xiii.  c.  20. 

65  Gum  is  still  used.  Fee  says,  for  this  purpose. 

66  It  is  of  no  use  whatever  for  burns,  or  as  a  diuretic. 

57  Fee  says  that  it  is  not  different  in  any  way  from  the  gum  of  other  trees. 

Chap.  67.]  GUM  ACACIA.  43 

astringent  properties  of  them  all,  is  calorific  also  in  its  effects. 
Still,  however,  the  gum  of  the  plum,  cherry,  and  vine  is 
greatly  preferred  :  all  which  kinds,  applied  topically,  are  pro- 
ductive of  astringent  and  desiccative  effects,  and,  used  with 
vinegar,  heal  lichens  upon  infants.  Taken  in  must,  in  doses 
of  four  oboli,  they  are  good  for  inveterate  coughs. 

It  is  generally  thought  that  gum,  taken  in  raisin  wine, 
improves  the  complexion,58  sharpens  the  appetite,  and  is 
good  for  calculi69  in  the  bladder.  It  is  particularly  useful  too 
for  wounds  and  affections  of  the  eyes. 



When  speaking60  of  the  perfumes,  we  have  descanted  upon 
the  merits  of  the  Egyptian  or  Arabian  thorn.  This,  too,  is  of 
an  astringent  nature,  and  acts  as  a  desiccative  upon  fluxes  of 
all  kinds,  discharges  of  blood  from  the  mouth,  and  excessive 
menstruation;  for  all  which  purposes  the  root  is  still  more 



The  seed  of  the  white  thorn  is  useful  as  a  remedy  for  the 
stings  of  scorpions,  and  a  chaplet  made  of  it,  is  good  for  head- 
ache. Similar  to  this  plant  is  that  known  to  the  Greeks  as 
the  "  acanthion  ;"61  though  it  is  much  smaller  in  the  leaf,  which 
is  pointed  at  the  extremity,  and  covered  with  a  down  like  a 
cobweb  in  appearance.  This  downy  substance  is  gathered  in 
the  East,  and  certain  textures  are  made  of  it  similar  to  those 
of  silk.  An  infusion  of  the  leaves  or  root  of  this  plant  is  taken 
for  the  cure  of  opisthotony. 


Gum  acacia  is  produced  also  from  the  white  and  black62 

5S  Fee  remarks,  that  gum  is  injurious  as  a  cosmetic. 

59  Gum  is  of  no  use  whatever  in  such  a  case. 

60  In  B.  xiii.  c.  19.      In  speaking  there,  however,  of  this  gum,  the 
Acacia  Nilotica  of  Linnaeus,  he  makes  no  mention  whatever  of  Arabia ; 
for  which  reason  Sillig  concludes  that  this  passage  is  corrupt, 

61  The  Onopordum  acanthium  of  Linnaeus,  the  cotton- thistle,  or  woolly 

62  The  Mimosa  Nilotica  of  Linnaeus ;  see  B.  xiii.  c.  19.     Fee  seems  in- 
clined to  identify  the  white  thorn  with  the  Cratsegus  oxyacantha  of  Lin- 

44  PLINY'S  NATUKAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 

thorns  of  Egypt,  and  from  a  green  thorn  as  well ;  the  pro- 
duce, however,  of  the  former  trees  is  by  far  the  best.  There  is 
also  a  similar  gum  found  in  Galatia,  but  of  very  inferior 
quality,  the  produce  of  a  more  thorny  tree63  than  those  last 
mentioned.  The  seed  of  all  these  trees  resembles64  the  lentil 
in  appearance,  only  that  it  is  smaller,  as  well  as  the  pod  which 
contains  it :  it  is  gathered  in  autumn,  before  which  period  it 
would  be  too  powerful  in  its  effects.  The  juice  is  left  to 
thicken  in  the  pods,  which  are  steeped  in  rain-water  for  the 
purpose,  and  then  pounded  in  a  mortar ;  after  which,  the 
juice  is  extracted  by  means  of  presses.  It  is  then  dried  in  the 
mortars  in  the  sun,  and  when  dry  is  divided  into  tablets.  A 
similar  juice  is  extracted  from  the  leaves,  but  it  is  by  no 
means65  so  useful  as  the  other.  The  seed  is  used  also,  as  a 
substitute  for  nut-galls  in  curing  leather.6" 

The  juice  extracted  from  the  leaves,  as  also  tiie  extremely 
black  juice  of  the  Galatian67  acacia,  is  held  in  no  esteem.  The 
same  too  with  that  of  a  deep  red  colour.  The  gum  which  is 
of  a  purple,  or  of  an  ashy,  grey  colour,  and  which  dissolves 
with  the  greatest  rapidity,  possesses  the  most  astringent  and 
cooling  qualities  of  them  all,  and  is  more  particularly  useful  as 
an  ingredient  in  compositions  for  the  eyes.  "When  required 
for  these  purposes,  the  tablets  are  steeped  in  water  by  some, 
while  some  again  scorch  them,  and  others  reduce  them  to 
ashes.  They  are  useful  for  dyeing  the  hair,  and  for  the  cure  of 
erysipelas,  serpiginous  sores,  ulcerations  of  the  humid  parts  of 
the  body,  gatherings,  contusions  of  the  joints,  chilblains,  and 
hangnails.  They  are  good  also  for  cases  of  excessive  menstru- 
ation, procidence  of  the  uterus  and  rectum,  affections  of  the 
eyes,  and  ulcerations  of  the  generative  organs68  and  mouth, 
naeus,  the  white  hawthorn,  or  May.  In  the  present  passage,  however,  it 
is  doubtful  whether  the  colours  apply  to  the  varieties  of  gum,  or  to  the  trees 
which  produce  them.  Sillig  considers  the  passage  to  he  corrupt. 

63  The  Prunus  spinosa  of  Linnaeus,  F£e  thinks,  the  sloe,  or  black  thorn. 

64  Fee  says  that  the  difference  in  appearance  is  very  considerable  between 

65  The  leaves  containing  little  or  no  tannin. 

66  In  India,  the  bark  of  the  Acacia  Arabica  is  still  used  for  tanning 

67  This  juice,  Fee  says,  obtained  from  the  Primus  spinosa,  is  known  at 
the  present  day  in  commerce  by  the  name  of  Acacia  nostras. 

68  Fee  queries,  without  sufficient  foundation,  it  would  appear,  whether 
he  is  here  speaking  of  syphilitic  affections. 

Chap.  69.]  THE   ERYSISCEPTRUM.  45 

CHAP.  68.    (13.) — ASPALATHOS  I    ONE    REMEDY". 

The  common69  thorn  too,  with  which  the  fulling  coppers  are 
filled,  is  employed  for  the  same  purposes  as  the  radicula.70  In 
the  provinces  of  Spain  i't  is  commonly  employed  as  an  ingre- 
dient in  perfumes  and  unguents,  under  the  name  of  "  aspa- 
lathos."  There  is  no  doubt,  however,  that  there  is  also  a  wild 
thorn  of  the  same  name  in  the  East,  as  already  mentioned,71  of 
a  white  colour,  and  the  size  of  an  ordinary  tree. 



There  is  also  found  in  the  islands  of  Nisyros  and  of  Ehodes, 
a  shrub  of  smaller  size,  but  full  as  thorny,  known  by  some  as 
the  erysisceptrum,72  by  others  as  the  adipsatheon,  and  by  the 
Syrians  as  the  diaxylon.  The  best  kind  is  that  which  is  the 
least73  ferulaceous  in  the  stem,  and  which  is  of  a  red  colour,  or 
inclining  to  purple,  when  the  bark  is  removed.  It  is  found 
growing  in  many  places,  but  is  not  everywhere  odoriferous. 
We  have  already74  stated  how  remarkably  sweet  the  odour  of 
it  is,  when  the  rainbow  has  been  extended  over  it. 

This  plant  cures  fetid  ulcers  of  the  mouth,  polypus75  of  the 
nose,  ulcerations  or  carbuncles  of  the  generative  organs,  and 
chaps  ;  taken  in  drink  it  acts  as  a  carminative,  and  is  curative 
of  strangury.  The  bark  is  good  for  patients  troubled  with, 
discharges  of  blood,  and  a  decoction  of  it  acts  astringently  on 
the  bowels.  It  is  generally  thought  that  the  wild  plant  is 
productive  of  the  same  effects. 

69  Fee  suggests  that  this  may  be  the  Dipsacus  fullonum  of  Linnaeus, 
the  fuller's  thistle. 

<°  See  B.  xix.  c.  18,  and  c.  58  of  this  Book. 

71  In  B.  xii.  c.  52.     But  in  that  passage  he  makes  the  Aspalathos  to'be 
identical  with  the  Erysisceptrum,  which  he  here  distinguishes  from  it.     Fee 
thinks  that  there  can  be  no  identity  between  the  common  thorn  here  men- 
tioned, and  the  Aspalathos.     This  latter,  as  mentioned  in  B.  xii.,  according 
to  Fee,  is  the  Convolvulus  scoparius  of  Linnaeus,  the  broom  bindweed,  but 
Littre  says  that  M.  Fraas  has  identified  it  with  the  Genista  acanthoclada. 

72  See  the  preceding  Note.      Fee  identifies  this  Aspalathos  with  the 
Spartium  villosum  of  Linnaeus,  making  that  of  B  xii.  c.  52,  to  be  the  Lignum 
Ehodianum  of  commerce,  probably  the  Convolvulus  scoparius  of  Linnaeus. 

73  The  corresponding  passage  in  Dioscorides  has  papvs,  "heavy,"  i.  e. 
the  most  solid  in  the  stem. 

74  In  B.  xii.  c.  52.  76  "  Ozsenas." 

46  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 



There  is  a  thorn  also  known  as  the  appendix  ;"*  that  name 
being  given  to  the  red  berries  which  hang  from  its  branches. 
These  berries  eaten  by  themselves,  raw,  or  else  dried  and 
boiled  in  wine,  arrest  looseness  of  the  bowels  and  dispel 
griping  pains  in  the  stomach.  The  berries  of  the  pyracantha77 
are  taken  in  drink  for  wounds  inflicted  by  serpents. 


The  paliurus,78  too,  is  a  kind  of  thorn.  The  seed  of  it,  known 
by  the  people  of  Africa  as  "  zura,"  is  extremely  efficacious  for 
the  sting  of  the  scorpion,  as  also  for  urinary  calculi  and  cough. 
The  leaves  are  of  an  astringent  nature,  and  the  root  disperses 
inflamed  tumours,  gatherings,  and  abscesses;  taken  in  drink 
it  is  diuretic  in  its  effects.  A  decoction  of  it  in  wine  arrests 
diarrhoea,  and  neutralizes  the  venom  of  serpents :  the  root 
more  particularly  is  administered  in  wine. 



The  agrifolia,79  pounded,  with  the  addition  of  salt,  is  good 
for  diseases  of  the  joints,  and  the  berries  are  used  in  cases  of 
excessive  menstruation,  coeliac  affections,  dysentery,  and 
cholera  ;  taken  in  wine,  they  act  astringently  upon  the  bowels. 
A  decoction  of  the  root,  applied  externally,  extracts  foreign 
bodies  from  the  flesh,  and  is  remarkably  useful  for  sprains  and 

The  tree  called  "  aquifolia,"  planted80  in  a  town  or  country- 

7?  The  Berberis  vulgaris  of  Linnaeus,  or  barberry,  Fee  thinks. 

77  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Mespilus  pyraeantha  of  Linnaeus,   the 
evergreen  thorn.     It  receives  its  name  probably  from  the  redness  of  its 
berries,  which  are  the  colour  of  fire. 

78  Fee  considers  this  to  be  the  Paliurus  aculeatus  of  Decandolle,  and  not 
identical  with  the  Paliurus  mentioned  in  B.  xiii.  c.  33. 

79  Fee  thinks  that  the  copyists  have  made  a  mistake  in  this  passage,  and 
that  the  reading  should  be  "  aquifolia,"  the  same  plant  that  is  mentioned 
afterwards  under  that  name.     He  identifies  them  with  the  Ilex  aquifolium, 
or  holly.     See  B.  xvi.  cc.  8, 12,  where  Pliny  evidently  confounds  the  holm 
oak  with  the  holly. 

fl°  Dioscorides  says,  B,  i.  c.  119,  "the  branches  of  the  rlmmnus^  it  is 
said,  placed  at  the  doors  and  windows,  will  avert  the  spells  of  sorcerers." 

Chap.  73.]  THE   BRAMBLE.  47 

house,  is  a  preservative  against  sorceries  and  spells.  The 
blossom  of  it,  according  to  Pythagoras,  congeals81  water,  and  a 
staff82  made  of  the  wood,  if,  when  thrown  at  any  animal,  from 
want  of  strength  in  the  party  throwing  it,  it  falls  short  of  the 
mark,  will  roll  hack  again83  towards  the  thrower,  of  its  own 
accord — so  remarkable  are  the  properties  of  this  tree.  The 
smoke  of  the  yew  kills84  rats  and  mice. 


TsTor  yet  has  Nature  destined  the  bramble85  to  be  only  an 
annoyance  to  mankind,  for  she  has  bestowed  upon  it  mul- 
berries of  its  own,86  or,  in  other  words,  a  nutritive  aliment  even 
for  mankind.  These  berries  are  of  a  desiccative,  astringent, 
nature,87  and  are  extremely  useful  for  maladies  of  the  gums, 
tonsillary  glands,  and  generative  organs.  They  neutralize  also 
the  venom  of  those  most  deadly  of  serpents,  the  hsemorrhois83 
and  the  prester  ;89  and  the  flowers  or  fruit  will  heal  wounds 
inflicted  by  scorpions,  without  any  danger  of  abscesses  forming. 
The  shoots  of  the  bramble  have  a  diuretic  effect:  and  the 
more  tender  ones  are  pounded,  and  the  juice  extracted  and  then 
dried  in  the  sun  till  it  has  attained  the  consistency  of  honey, 
being  considered  a  most  excellent  remedy,  taken  in  drink  or 
applied  externally,  for  maladies  of  the  mouth  and  eyes,  dis- 
charges of  blood  from  the  mouth,  quinzy,  affections  of  the 

It  is  not  improbable  that  Pliny,  in  copying  from  some  other  author,  has 
mistaken  the  one  for  the  other. 

81  An  exaggeration,  no  doubt.     The  Cissampelos  Pareira  of  Lamarck,  an 
Indian  plant,  abounds  in  mucilage  to  such  an  extent,  that  an  infusion  of  it 
in  water  becomes  speedily  coagulated. 

82  One  would  be  induced  to  think  that  this  story  is  derived  from  some 
vague  account  of  the  properties  of  the  Boomerang.      Although  supposed 
by  many  to  have  been  the  invention  of  the  natives  of  Australasia,  repre- 
sentations  of  it   are   found   on   the   sculptures  of  Nineveh.     It  is  not 
improbable  that  Pythagoras  may  have  heard  of  it  from  the  Magi  during 
his  travels  in  the  East.     See  £onomi's  Nineveh,  p.  136. 

83  "Recubitu"  seems  preferable  to  "  cubitu." 

84  This  is  very  doubtful,  Fee  says. 

85  See  B.  xvi.  c.  71.  86  See  B.  xvi.  c.  71. 

*'  Blackberries  are  still  used  in  the  country,  Fee  says,  as  an  astringent 
medicine,  and  all  here  stated  that  is  based  upon  that  property  is  rational 
enough.  The  same  cannot,  however,  be  said  of  the  greatet  part  of  the 
other  statements  in  this  Chapter. 

**  See  B.  xx.  cc.  '23,  81,  and  B.  xxiii.  cc.  12,  18. 

89  See  B.  xx.  c,  81,  B.  xxii.  c.  13,  and  B.  xxiii.  c.  23. 

48  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.          [Book  XXIV. 

uterus,  diseases  of  the  rectum,  and  cceliac  affections.  The  leaves, 
chewed,  are  good  for  diseases  of  the  mouth,  and  a  topical  ap- 
plication is  made  of  them  for  running  ulcers  and  other  maladies 
of  the  head.  In  the  cardiac  disease  they  are  similarly  applied 
to  the  left  breast  by  themselves.  They  are  applied  topically 
also  for  pains  in  the  stomach  and  for  procidence  of  the  eyes. 
The  juice  of  them  is  used  as  an  injection  for  the  ears,  and,  in 
combination  with  cerate  of  roses,  it  heals  condylomata. 

A  decoction  of  the  young  shoots  in  wine  is  an  instantaneous 
remedy  for  diseases  of  the  uvula ;  and  eaten  by  themselves 
like  cymse,90  or  boiled  in  astringent  wine,  they  strengthen 
loose  teeth.  They  arrest  fluxes  of  the  bowels  also,  and  dis- 
charges of  blood,  and  are  very  useful  for  dysentery.  Dried  in 
the  shade  and  then  burnt,  the  ashes  of  them  are  curative  of 
procidence  of  the  uvula.  The  leaves  too,  dried  and  pounded, 
are  very  useful,  it  is  said,  for  ulcers  upon  beasts  of  burden.  The 
berries  produced  by  this  plant  would  seem  to  furnish  a  stomatice91 
superior  even  to  that  prepared  from  the  cultivated  mulberry. 
Under  this  form,  or  else  only  with  hypocisthis91*  and  honey, 
the  berries  are  administered  for  cholera,  the  cardiac  disease, 
and  wounds  inflicted  by  spiders.92 

Among  the  medicaments  known  as  "  styptics,"92*  there  is 
none  that  is  more  efficacious  than  a  decoction  of  the  root  of  the 
bramble  in  wine,  boiled  down  to  one  third.  Ulcerations  of  the 
mouth  and  rectum  are  bathed  with  it,  and  fomentations  of  it 
are  used  for  a  similar  purpose ;  indeed,  it  is  so  remarkably 
powerful  in  its  effects,  that  the  very  sponges  which  are  used 
become  as  hard  as  a  stone.93 


There  is  another  kind  of  bramble  also,94  which  bears  a  rose. 
It  produces  a  round  excrescence,95  similar  to  a  chesnut  in 

90  Cabbage-sprouts.     See  B.  xix.  c.  41. 

91  Or  "  mouth-medicine."     See  B.  xxiii.  c.  71. 
91*  See  B.  xxvi.  cc.  31,  49,  87,  and  90. 

92  Tfce  spider  called  "  phalangium  "  is  meant,  Fee  says.     See  B.-xi.  c.  28, 
92*  Astringents.  93  "Lapidescunt." 

94  The  eglantine.     See  B.  xvi.  c.  71. 

95  He  alludes  to  "  bedeguar,"  a  fungous  excrescence  found  on  the  wild 
rose-tree,  and  produced  by  the  insect  known  as  the  Cynips  rosse.     It  is 
somewhat  rough  on  the  exterior,  like  the  outer  coat  of  the  chesnut. 

Chap.  74.]  THE   CYNOSBATOS.  49 

appearance,  which  is  remarkably  valuable  as  a  remedy  for 
calculus.  This  is  quite  a  different  production  from  the  "cynor- 
rhoda,"  which  we  shall  have  occasion  to  speak  of  in  the 
succeeding  Book.96 

(14.)  The  cynosbatos97  is  by  some  called  "  cynapanxis,"98 
and  by  others  "  neurospastos  ;"  "  the  leaf  resembles  the  human 
footstep  in  shape.  It  bears  also  a  black  grape,  in  the  berries 
of  which  there  is  a  nerve,  to  which  it  is  indebted  for  its  name 
of  "  neurospastos."  It  is  quite  a  different  plant  from  the  cap- 
paris1  or  caper,  to  which  medical  men  have  also  given  the  name 
of  "  cynosbatos."  The  clusters2  of  it,  pickled  in  vinegar,  are 
eaten  as  a  remedy  for  diseases  of  the  spleen,  and  flatulency  : 
and  the  string  found  in  the  berries,  chewed  with  Chian  mastich, 
cleanses  the  mouth. 

The  rose3  of  the  bramble,  mixed  with  axle-grease,  is  curative 
of  alopecy :  and  the  bramble-berries  themselves,  combined  with 
oil  of  omphacium,4  stain5  the  hair.  The  blossom  of  the  bram- 
ble is  gathered  at  harvest,  and  the  white  blossom,  taken  in 
wine,  is  an  excellent  remedy  for  pleurisy  and  cceliac  affections. 
The  root,  boiled  down  to  one  third,  arrests  looseness  of  the 
bowels  and  haemorrhage,  and  a  decoction  of  it,  used  as  a  gar*gle, 
is  good  for  the  teeth  :  the  juice  too  is  employed  as  a  fomenta- 
tion for  ulcers  of  the  rectum  and  generative  organs.  The 
ashes  of  the  root  are  curative  of  relaxations  of  the  uvula. 

96  The  fruit,  Fee  says,  of  the  wild  eglantine.     See  B.  xxv.  c.  6. 

97  Or  "  dog-bramble." 

98  «  Dog-strangle,"  apparently. 

99  "  Drawn  with  a  string."      Fee  thinks  that  Pliny  has  confused  the 
account  given  of  this  plant  with  that  of  the  Aglaophotis,  mentioned  in 
c.  102  of  this  Book,  and  that  the  Cynosbatos  is  only  a  variety  of  the  Rubus 
or  bramble.     Other  authorities  identify  it  with  the  Eubus  caninus,  or  with 
the  Rosa  sempervirens.     Desfontaines  thinks  that  it  is  the  Ribes  nigrum, 
or  black  currant ;  and  Littre  is  of  opinion  that  some  gooseberry  or  currant 
tree  is  meant,  l  See  B.  xiii.  c.  44. 

2  "  Thyrsus/'  Fee  thinks  that  the  allusion  is  to  the  produce  of  the 
caper,  while  Hardouin  says  that  it  is  the  first  cynosbatos  that  he  is  speak- 
ing of.  Hardouiii  is  probably  riorht. 

a  The  blossom,  perhaps,  of  the  Rubus  fruticosus,  or  blackberry, 

4  See  B.  xii.  c.  60. 

5  Fee  s.ays  that  they  have  no  such  property,  and  that  the  blossoms  of  the 
bramble  are  entirely  destitute  of  any  known  medicinal  qualities.     The 
roots  and  leaves  are  somewhat  astringent. 

VOL.  V.  '  E 

50  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 

CHAP.   75. THE    IDJ2AN    BRAMBLE. 

The  Idsean  bramble6  is  so  called  from  the  fact  that  it  is  the 
only  plant  of  the  kind  found  growing  upon  Mount  Ida.  It  is 
of  a  more  delicate  nature  than  the  others,  and  smaller ;  the 
canes  too  are  thinner,  and  not7  so  prickly :  it  mostly  grows 
beneath  the  shade  of  trees.  The  blossom  of  it,  mixed  with 
honey,  is  applied  topically  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  and  is 
administered  in  water  for  erysipelas  and  affections  of  the 
stomach.8  In  other  respects,  it  has  properties  similar  to  those 
of  the  plants9  already  mentioned. 


Among  the  several  kinds10  of  bramble  is  reckoned  the  plant 
called  "  rhamnos"  by  the  Greeks.  One  variety  of  it  is  whiter11 
than  the  other,  and  has  a  more  shrublike  appearance,  throwing 
out  branches  armed  with  straight  thorns,  and  not  hooked,  like 
those  of  the  other  kinds;  the  leaves  too  are  larger.  The  other 
kind,12  which  is  found  growing  wild,  is  of  a  more  swarthy  hue, 
in  some  measure  inclining  to  red ;  it  bears  too  a  sort13  of  pod. 
"With  the  root  of  it  boiled  in  water  a  medicament  is  made, 
known  as  "lycium:"14  the  seed  of  it  is  useful  for  bringing 
away  the  after-birth.  The  white  kind,  however,  is  of  a  more 
astringent  and  cooling  nature,  and  better  adapted  for  the  treat- 
ment of  gatherings  and  wounds.  The  leaves  of  both  kinds, 
either  raw  or  boiled,  are  employed  topically  with  oil. 

6  The  raspberry;  see  B.  xvi.  c.  71. 

7  There  is  one  variety  which  is  very  diminutive,  and  entirely  destitute 
of  thorns,  the  Kubus  Idaeus  Isevis  of  C.  Bauhin,  the  Rubus  Idaeus  non 
spinosus  of  J.  Bauhin.  8  See  B.  xvi.  c.  71. 

9  Of  the  bramble  genus. 

10  In  reality,  as  Fee  says,  there  is  no  botanical  affinity  between  the 
•Rubus,  or  bramble,  and  the  Rhamnus. 

11  Sprengel  identifies  this  plant  with  the  Zizyphus  vulgarisof  Linnseus, 
the  jujube,  and  Desfontaines  is  of  the  same  opinion.     Fee,  however,  takes 
it  to  be  the  Rhamnus  saxatilis  of  Linnaeus,  the  rock  buckthorn. 

12  Identified  by  some  authorities  with  the  Paliurus  aculeatus  of  Decan- 
dolles,  mentioned  in  c.  71.     Sprengel  is  in  doubt  whether  it  may  not  be 
the  Rhamnus  lycioides  of  Linnaeus. 

13  Not  a  characteristic,  Fee  says,  of  the  genus  Rhamnus  of  modern  Botany. 

14  Or  "Lycian"  extract.     See  B.  xii.  c.  15. 

Chap.  77.]  LTCITJM.  51 


The  best  lycium,15  they  say,  is  that  prepared  from  the  thorn 
of  that  name,  known  also  as  the  "  Chironian  pyxacanthus,"16 
and  mentioned  by  us  when  speaking  of  the  trees  of  India,  the 
lycium  of  those  regions  being  generally  looked  upon  as  by 
far  the  best.  The  branches  and  roots,  which  are  intensely 
bitter,17  are  first  pounded  and  then  boiled  for  three  days  in 
a  copper  vessel,  after  which  the  woody  parts  are  removed, 
and  the  decoction  is  boiled  again,  till  it  has  attained  the 
consistency  of  honey.  It  is  adulterated  with  various  bitter 
extracts,18  as  also  with  amurca  of  olive  oil  and  ox-gall.  The 
froth  or  flower19  of  this  decoction  is  used  as  an  ingredient  in 
compositions  for  the  eyes  :  and  the  other  part  of  it  is  employed 
as  a  cosmetic  for  the  face,  and  for  the  cure  of  itch-scabs, 
corroding  sores  in  the  corners  of  the  eyes,  inveterate  fluxes, 
and  suppurations  of  the  ears.  It  is  useful  too  for  diseases  of 
the  tonsillary  glands  and  gums,  for  coughs,  and  for  discharges 
of  blood  from  the  mouth,  being  generally  taken  in  pieces  the 
size  of  a  bean.  For  the  cure  of  discharges  from  wounds,  it 
is  applied  to  the  part  affected ;  and  it  is  similarly  used  for 
chaps,  ulcerations  of  the  genitals,  excoriations,  ulcers,  whether 
putrid,  serpiginous,  or  of  recent  date,  hard  excrescences20  of 
the  nostrils,  and  suppurations.  It  is  taken  also  by  females, 
in  milk,  for  the  purpose  of  arresting  the  catamenia  when  in 

The  Indian  lycium  is  distinguished  from  the  other  kinds 
by  its  colour,  the  lumps  being  black  outside,  and,  when  broken, 
red  within,  though  they  turn  black  very  quickly.21  It  is 
bitter  and  remarkably  astringent,  and  is  employed  for  all  the 
purposes  above  mentioned,  diseases  of  the  generative  organs  in 

15  See  8.  xii.  c.  15.     Fee  identifies  this  with  the  modern  Catechu,  a  de- 
coction from  the  Acacia  catechu,  a  leguminous  plant  of  the  East  Indies. 

16  The  Rhamnus  lycioides  of  Linnaeus,  our  buckthorn.      The  Indian 
plant  from  which  catechu  is  extracted  is  of  a  similar  nature.  See  B.  xii.  c.  15. 

17  This  Fee  looks  upon  as  an  exaggeration. 

18  See  B.  xii.  c.  15. 

19  /.  e.  the  choice  part  of  it;  see  B.  xii.  c.  15.     Catechu  is  adulterated 
at  the  present  day  with  starch  and  argillaceous  earths.     As  a  medicament 
it  is  not  possessed  of  a  very  powerful  action. 

20  "  Clavos."  21  This  statement  is  quite  correct. 

E  2 

52  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.          [Book  XXIV. 

Some  authors  are  of  opinion  that  sarcocolla23  is  a  tearlike 
gum  which  exudes  from  a  kind  of  thorn  ;23  it  is  similar  to 
powdered  incense  in  appearance,  has  a  sweet  flavour  with  a 
slight  degree  of  bitter,  and  is  of  the  consistency  of  gum. 
Pounded  in  wine,  it  arrests  defluxions,  and  is  used  as  a  topical 
application  for  infants  more  particularly.  This  substance  too 
becomes  black24  when  old ;  the  whiter  it  is,  the  more  highly 
it  is  esteemed. 


We  are  indebted  too  to  the  medicinal  properties  of  trees 
for  one  very  celebrated  medicament,  known  as  "  oporice."25 
This  preparation  is  used  for  dysentery  and  various  affections  of 
the  stomach  ;  the  following  being  the  method  of  preparing  it. 
Five  quinces,  seeds  and  all,  with  the  same  number  of  pome- 
granates, one  sextarius  of  sorbs,  a  similar  quantity  of  Syrian 
rhus,26  and  half  an  ounce  of  saifron,  are  boiled  in  one  congius 
of  white  grape-juice  at  a  slow  heat,  till  the  whole  mixture  is 
reduced  to  the  consistency  of  honey. 



We  shall  now  add  to  these  plants,  certain  vegetable  produc- 
tions to  which  the  Greeks  have  given  names  belonging  to  trees, 
so  that  it  would  be  doubtful  whether  they  themselves  are  not 
trees  as  well. 

(15.)  The  chamsedrys27  is  the  same  plant  that  in  Latin  is 
called  "trixago;"  some  persons,  however,  call  it  "chamse- 
drops,"  and  others  "  teucria."  The  leaves  of  it  are  the  size 

22  See  B.  xiii.  c.  20. 

23  The  Pensea  sarcocolla  is  not  a  thorny  tree. 

24  Fee  says  that  this  is  not  the  case.    It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine. 

25  Or  conserve  of  fruits.     An  electuary. 

26  Seed  of  the  sumach.     See  B.  xiii.  c.  13. 

27  "  Ground  oak."     See  B.  xiv.  c.  19  ;  where  it  is  identified  with  the 
Teucrium  chamsedrys  of  Linnaeus.     Littre,  however,  informs  us,  that  M. 
Fraas  considers  it  to  be  the  Teucrium  lucidum  of  Linnaeus  ;  because,  as  we 
learn  from  Bioscorides,  it  grows  on  rocky  places,  is  a  remarkably  diminutive 
shrub,  and  has  a  fine  odour,  all  of  which  are  characteristics  of  the  latter 
plant,  and  not  of  the  Teucrium  chaniiedrys,  commonly  known  as  the  dwarf 
oak  or  germander. 

Chap.  82.]  THE    CHAMEL^A.  53 

of  those  of  mint,  but  in  their  colour  and  indentations  they 
resemble  those  of  the  oak.  According  to  some,  the  leaves  are 
serrated,  and  it  was  these,  they  say,  that  first  suggested  the 
idea  of  the  saw  :28  the  flower  of  it  borders  closely  upon  purple. 
This  plant  is  gathered  in  rough  craggy  localities,  when  it  is 
replete  with  juice ;  and,  whether  taken29  internally  or  applied 
topically,  it  is  extremely  efficacious  for  the  stings  of  venomous 
serpents,  diseases  of  the  stomach,  inveterate  coughs,  collections 
of  phlegm  in  the  throat,  ruptures,  convulsions,  and  pains 
in  the  sides.  It  diminishes  the  volume  of  the  spleen,  and  acts 
as  a  diuretic  and  emmenagogue ;  for  which  reasons  it  is  very 
useful  in  incipient  dropsy,  the  usual  dose  being  a  handful  of 
the  sprigs  boiled  down  to  one  third  in  three  heminae  of  water. 
Lozenges  too  are  made  of  it  for  the  above-named  purposes,  by 
bruising  it  in  water.  In  combination  with  honey,  it  heals 
abscesses  and  inveterate  or  sordid  ulcers  :  a  wine30  too  is  pre- 
pared from  it  for  diseases  of  the  chest.  The  juice  of  the  leaves, 
mixed  with  oil,  disperses  films  on  the  eyes  ;  it  is  taken  also,  in 
vinegar,  for  diseases  of  the  spleen  j  employed  as  a  friction,  it  is 
of  a  warming  nature. 


The  chamaedaphne31  consists  of  a  single  diminutive  stem, 
about  a  cubit  in  height,  the  limbs  of  it  being  smaller  than 
those  of  the  laurel.  These  leaves  *  *  *  The  seed,  which  is 
of  a  red  colour,  and  attached  to  the  leaves,  is  applied  fresh  for 
head- ache,  is  of  a  cooling  nature  for  burning  heats,  and  is 
taken  for  griping  pains  in  the  bowels,  with  wine.  The  juice  of 
this  plant,  taken  in  wine,  acts  as  an  emmenagogue  and  diuretic  ; 
and  applied  as  a  pessary  in  wool,  it  facilitates  laborious  deliveries. 

CHAP.  82. — THE    CHAMEL^EA  :    SIX   REMEDIES. 

The  leaves  of  the  chamelsea32  resemble  those  of  the  olive ; 
they  are  bitter,  however,  and  odoriferous.  This  plant  is  found 

28  An  invention  attributed  to  Daedalus,  in  B.  vii.  c.  57. 

29  The  Teucrium  chamaedrys  is  a  bitter  plant,  which  has  been  success- 
fully used  for  fever,  and  it  acts  as  a  tonic  and  vermifuge.      Beyond  these, 
it  has  no  medicinal  properties  whatever.  30  See  B.  xiv.  c,  19. 

si  or  « ground-laurel."  Fee  considers  this  to  be  identical  with  the 
Alexandrian  laurel,  mentioned  in  B.  xv.  c.  39.  It  is  no  longer  used  in 
medicine,  but  the  roots  of  a  plant  of  kindred  nature,  the  Ruscus  aculeatus, 
or  butcher's  broom,  are  diuretic. 

3-  Or  ''ground  olive.'*     See  B.  xiii.  c.  35. 

54  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOEY.          [Book  XX JV. 

growing  in  craggy  localities,  and  never  exceeds  a  palm  in 
height.  It  is  of  a  purgative33  nature,  and  carries  off  phlegm 
and  bile ;  for  which  purposes,  the  leaves  are  boiled  with  twice 
the  quantity  of  wormwood,  and  the  decoction  taken  with 
honey.  The  leaves,  applied  to  ulcers,  have  a  detergent  effect. 
It  is  said,  that  if  a  person  gathers  it  before  sunrise,  taking  care 
to  mention  that  he  is  gathering  it  for  the  cure  of  white  specks34 
in  the  eyes,  and  then  wears  it  as  an  amulet,  it  will  effect  a  cure  : 
as  also  that,  gathered  in  any  way,  it  is  beneficial  for  the  eyes 
of  beasts  of  burden  and  cattle. 


The  chamsesyce35  has  leaves  similar  to  those  of  the  lentil,  and 
lying  close  to  the  ground ;  it  is  found  growing  in  dry,  rocky, 
localities.  A  decoction  of  it  in  wine  is  remarkably  useful  as  a 
liniment  for  improving36  the  sight,  and  for  dispersing  cataract, 
cicatrizations,  films,  and  cloudiness  of  the  eyes.  Applied  in  a 
pledget  of  linen,  as  a  pessary,  it  allays  pains  in  the  uterus ; 
and  used  topically37  it  removes  warts  and  excrescences  of  all 
kinds.  It  is  very  useful  also  for  hardness  of  breathing. 


The  chamsecissos38  has  ears  like39  those  of  wheat,  with 
numerous  leaves,  and  small  branches,  about  five  in  number. 
When  in  blossom  it  might  almost  be  taken  for  the  white  violet : 
the  root  of  it  is  diminutive.  For  sciatica,  the  leaves  of  it  are 
taken,  seven  days  consecutively,  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  in  two 
cyathi  of  wine  :  this  is  a  very  bitter  potion,  however. 



The  charnseleuce40  is  known  among  us  as  the  "  farfarum"  or 
"  farfugium :"  it  grows  on  the  banks  of  rivers,  and  has  a  leaf 

33  This,  Fee  says,  is  consistent  with  modern  experience ;  indeed  it  is 
drastic  to  a  dangerous  extent.  34  "  Albugines." 

35  Or  "  ground  fig."   The  Euphorbia  chamassyce,  or  annual  spurge. 

36  The  juices  are  irritating  and  acrid,  and  would  in  reality  be  highly 
dangerous  to  the  eyes. 

37  Owing  to  its  caustic  powers,  it  really  is  good  for  the  removal  of  warts. 

38  Or  "  ground-ivy."     SeeB.  xvi.  c.  62,  and  c.  49  of  this  Book. 

39  Fee  says  that  this  comparison  is  not  strictly  correct. 

40  The  "  ground-poplar."     See  B.  xxvi.  c.  19.     Identified  with  the 
Tussilago  farfara  of  Linnaeus ;  our  colt's-foot. 

Chap.  87.]  THE    CLIXOPODIOtf,  ETC.  55 

like  that  of  the  poplar,  only  larger.  The  root  of  it  is  burnt 
upon  cypress  charcoal,  and,  by  the  aid  of  a  funnel,41  the  smoke 
inhaled,  in  cases  of  inveterate  cough. 

CHAP.    86. THE    CHAM2EPEUCE  I    FIVE    REMEDIES.       THE    CHAM-E- 


The  chamsepeuce*2  has  a  leaf  which  resembles  that  of  the 
larch,  and  is  useful  more  particularly  for  lumbago  and  pains  in 
the  back.  The  chamaecyparissos43  is  a  herb  which,  taken  in 
wine,  counteracts  the  venom  of  serpents  of  all  kinds,  and  of 

The  ampeloprason44  is  found  growing  in  vineyards ;  it  has 
leaves  like  those  of  the  leek,  and  produces  offensive  eructa- 
tions. It  is  highly  efficacious  for  the  stings  of  serpents,  and 
acts  as  an  emmenagogue  and  diuretic.  Taken  in  drink  or 
applied  externally,  it  arrests  discharges  of  blood  from  the  gene- 
rative organs.  It  is  prescribed  also  for  females  after  delivery, 
and  is  used  for  bites  inflicted  by  dogs. 

The  plant  known  as  "  stachys"  bears  a  strong  resemblance 
also  to  a  leek,45  but  the  leaves  of  it  are  longer  and  more  nume- 
rous. It  has  an  agreeable  smell,  and  in  colour  inclines  to 
yellow.  It  promotes  menstruation. 


The  clinopodion,46  cleonicion,  zopyron,  or  ocimoides,  resem- 
41  Or  "  tube  "— "  infundibulum."     Colt's-foot  is  still  smoked,  either  by 

itself  or  in  conjunction  with  tobacco.      Fee  says,  however,  that  to  inhale 

the  smoke  in  the  manner  here  described,  would  be  enough  to  create  a  cough 

if  it  did  not  exist  before. 
43  "Ground-pine  "  or  "  ground  pitch-tree."    Identified  by  Sprengel  with 

the  Stcehelina  chamaepeuce  of  Willdenow,  a  corymbiferous  plant  of  the  Isle 

of  Candia. 

43  "  Ground-cypress."   Identified  with  the  Euphorbia  cyparissias  of  Lin- 
naeus, the  cypress  spurge.     Taken  internally,  it  is  a  corrosive  poison. 

44  Qr  « vine-leek."     The  Allium  ampeloprason  of  Linnaeus,  the  great 
round-headed  garlic.     It  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine,  and  all  that  Pliny 
states  as  to  its  medicinal  properties  is  quite  unfounded,  Fee  says. 

45  Fee  thinks  that  Pliny  has  committed  an  error  here,  and  that  the 
word  "  marrubii "  should  be  substituted,  our  "  horehound."     He  identifies 
it  with  the  Stachys  Germanica  of  Linnaeus,  or  base  horehound ;  which 
is  more  commonly  found  in  the  South  of  Europe  than  in  Germany. 

46  Or   "  bed-foot."      The    Clinopodium  vulgare  of  Linnaeus,  our  wild 

56  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOEY.          [Book  XXIV. 

bles  wild  thyme  in  appearance.  The  stem  of  it  is  tough  and 
ligneous,  and  it  is  a  palm  in  height.  It  grows  in  stony  soils, 
and  the  leaves  are  trained  regularly  around  the  stem,47  which 
resembles  a  bed-post  in  appearance.  This  plant  is  taken  in 
drink,  for  convulsions,  ruptures,  strangury,  and  wounds  inflicted 
by  serpents :  a  decoction  is  also  made  of  it,  and  the  juice  is 
similarly  employed. 


"We  shall  now  have  to  annex  some  plants,  of  a  marvellous 
nature  no  doubt,  but  not  so  well  known,  reserving  those  of  a 
higher  reputation  for  the  succeeding  Books. 

Our  people  give  the  name  of  "  centunculus,"48  to  a  creep- 
ing plant  that  grows  in  the  fields,  the  leaves  of  which  bear  a 
strong  resemblance  to  the  hoods  attached  to  our  cloaks.  By 
the  Greeks  it  is  known  as  the  "  clematis/'  Taken  in  astrin- 
gent wine  it  is  wonderfully  effectual  for  arresting49  diarrhoea : 
beaten  up,  in  doses  of  one  denarius,  in  five  cyathi  of  oxyinel 
or  of  warm  water,  it  arrests  haemorrhage,  and  facilitates  the 


The  Greeks  have  other  varieties  also  of  the  clematis,  one  of 
which  is  known  as  "  echites"50  or  "lagine,"  and  by  some  as 
the  •"  little  scammony."  Its  stems  are  about  two  feet  in  height, 
and  covered  with  leaves:  in  general  appearance  it  is  not 
unlike  scammony,  were  it  not  that  the  leaves  are  darker  and 
more  diminutive ;  it  is  found  growing  in  vineyards  and  cultivated 
soils.  It  is  eaten  as  a  vegetable,  with  oil  and  salt,  and  acts  as 
a  laxative  upon  the  bowels.  It  is  taken51  also  for  dysentery, 

basil.  It  lias  some  useful  properties  attributed  to  it ;  but  what  Pliny  here 
states  respecting  it  is  erroneous. 

47  This  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  "  orbiculato  foliorum  ambitu." 

48  Turner  and  C.  Bauhin  identify  it  with  the  Gnaphalium  German ieum 
of  Lamarck,  and  Sprengel  with  the  Polygonum  convolvulus  of  Linnaeus. 
If  so,  Fee  says,  the  synonym  here  given  by  Pliny  is  erroneous;  for  the 
Greek  clematis,  there  can  be  little  doubt,  is  the  Clematis  cirrhosa  of  Lin- 
naeus.    See  the  account  given  of  the  Gnaphalion  in  B.  xxvii.  c.  61. 

49  All  that  Pliny  states  as  to  its  medicinal  properties,  Fee   says,  is 

60  Probably  the  Asclepias  nigra  of  Linnaeus,  black  swallow- wort. 
51  The  Asclepias  nigra  has  no  such  medicinal  effects  as  those  mentioned 
by  Pliny. 

Chap.  91.]  THE    DEACONTITTM.  57 

with  linseed,  in  astringent  wine.  The  leaves  of  this  plant  are 
applied  with  polenta  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  the  part 
affected  being  first  covered  with  a  pledget  of  wet  linen.  Applied 
to  scrofulous  sores,  they  cause  them  to  suppurate,  and  if  some 
axle-grease  is  then  applied,  a  perfect  cure  will  he  effected. 
They  are  applied  also  to  piles,  with  green  oil,  and  are  good 
for  phthisis,  in  combination  with  honey.  Taken  with  the 
food,  they  increase  the  milk  in  nursing  women,  and,  rubbed 
upon  the  heads  of  infants,  they  promote  the  rapid  growth  of 
the  hair.  Eaten  with  vinegar,  they  act  as  an  aphrodisiac. 



There  is  another  kind  also,  known  as  the  "Egyptian"52 
clematis,  otherwise  as  "daphno'idesj'53or  "polygono'ides:"  it  has 
a  leaf  like  that  of  the  laurel,  and  is  long  and  slender.  Taken 
in  vinegar,  it  is  very  useful  for  the  stings  of  serpents,  that  of 
the  asp  in  particular. 


It  is  Egypt  more  particularly  that  produces  the  clematis 
known  as  the  "  aron,"  of  which  we  have  already54  made  some 
mention  when  speaking  of  the  bulbs,  Respecting  this  plant 
and  the  dracontium,  there  have  been  considerable  differences 
of  opinion.  Some  writers,  indeed,  have  maintained  that  they 
are  identical,  and  Glaucias  has  made  the  only  distinction 
between  them  in  reference  to  the  place  of  their  growth, 
assuming  that  the  dracontium  is  nothing  else  than  the  aron  in 
a  wild  state.  Some  persons,  again,  have  called  the  root  "  aron," 
and  the  stem  of  the  plant  "  dracontium :"  but  if  the  dracon- 
tium is  the  same  as  the  one  known  to  us  as  the  "  dracuncu- 
lus,"55  it  is  a  different  plant  altogether ;  for  while  the  aron  has 
a  broad,  black,  rounded  root,  and  considerably  larger, — large 
enough,  indeed,  to  fill  the  hand, — the  dracunculus  has  a 

52  The  Vinca  major  and  Vinca  minor  of  Linnaeus,  the  greater  and  smaller 
periwinkle.     Fee  is  at  a  loss  to  know  why  it  should  be  called  "  Egyptian," 
as  it  is  a  plant  of  Europe. 

53  "Laurel-shaped"  and  "many-cornered." 

54  In  B.  xix.  c.  30. 

43  Fee  says  that  the  Dracontion  of  the  Greeks  and  the  Dracunculus  of 
the  Latins  are  identical,  being  represented  in  modern  Botany  by  the  Arum 
dracunculus  of  Linnaeus,  the  common  dragon. 

58  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XXIV. 

reddish  root  of  a  serpentine  form,  to  which,  in  fact,  it  owes  its 


The  Greeks  themselves,  in  fact,  have  established  an  im- 
mense difference  between  these  two  plants,  in  attributing  to 
the  seed  of  the  dracunculus  certain  hot,  pungent  properties, 
and  a  fetid  odour57  so  remarkably  powerful  as  to  be  productive 
of  abortion,58  while  upon  the  aron,  on  the  other  hand,  they 
have  bestowed  marvellous  encomiums.  As  an  article  of  food, 
however,  they  give  the  preference  to  the  female  plant,  the 
male  plant  being  of  a  harder  nature,  and  more  difficult  to  cook. 
It  carries  off,69  they  say,  all  vicious  humours  from  the  chest, 
and  powdered  and  taken  in  the  form  either  of  a  potion  or  of 
an  electuary,  it  acts  as  a  diuretic  and  emmenagogue.  Powdered 
and  taken  in  oxymel,  it  is  good  for  the  stomach ;  and  we  find 
it  stated  that  it  is  administered  in  ewe's  milk  for  ulcerations 
of  the  intestines,  and  is  sometimes  cooked  on  hot  ashes  and 
given  in  oil  for  a  cough.  Some  persons,  again,  are  in  the  habit 
of  boiling  it  in  milk  and  administering  the  decoction  ;  and  it 
has  been  used  also  in  a  boiled  state  as  a  topical  application  for 
defluxions  of  the  eyes,  contusions,  and  affections  of  the  tonsil- 
lary  glands.  *  *  *  *60  prescribes  it  with  oil,  as  an 
injection  for  piles,  and  recommends  it  as  a  liniment,  with 
honey,  for  freckles. 

Cleophantus  has  greatly  extolled  this  plant  as  an  antidote  for 
poisons,  and  for  the  treatment  of  pleurisy  and  peripneumony, 
prepared  the  same  way  as  for  coughs.  The  seed  too,  pounded 
with  olive  oil  or  oil  of  roses,  is  used  as  an  injection  for  pains 

56  From  "  draco,"  a  "  dragon  "  or  "  serpent."     Fee  says,  that  it  is  not 
to  its  roots,  but  to  its  spotted  stem,  resembling  the  skin  of  an  adder,  that 
it  owes  its  name. 

57  *«  Virus."     Fee  says  that  the  Arum  dracunculus  has  a  strong,  fetid 
odour,  and  all  parts  of  it  are  acrid  and  caustic,  while  the  Arum  colocasia 
has  an  agreeable  flavour  when  boiled. 

58  This,  Fee  says,  is  fabulous. 

59  Though  no  longer  used  in  medicine,  the  account  here  given  of  the 
properties  of  the  Arum  colocasia  is  in  general  correct,  a  few  marvellous 
details  excepted. 

60  Sillig  thinks  that  there  is  a  lacuna  here,  and  that  the  name  "  Cleo- 
phantus "  should  be  supplied. 

Chap.  92.]  THE   AEON.  50 

in  the  ears.  Dieuches  prescribes  it,  mixed  in  bread61  with  meal, 
for  the  cure  of  coughs,  asthma,  hardness  of  breathing,  and 
purulent  expectorations.  Diodotus  recommends  it,  in  combi- 
nation with  honey,  as  an  electuary  for  phthisis  and  diseases  of 
the  lungs,  and  as  a  topical  application  even  for  fractured  bones. 
Applied  to  the  sexual  parts,  it  facilitates  delivery  in  all  kinds 
of  animals ;  and  the  juice  extracted  from  the  root,  in  combina- 
tion with  Attic  honey,  disperses  films  upon  the  eyes,  and 
diseases  of  the  stomach.  A  decoction  of  it  with  honey  is 
curative  of  cough ;  and  the  juice  is  a  marvellous  remedy  for 
ulcers  of  every  description,  whether  phagedaenic,  carcinomatous, 
or  serpiginous,  and  for  polypus  of  the  nostrils.  The  leaves, 
boiled  in  wine  and  oil,  are  good  for  burns,  and,  taken  with 
salt  and  vinegar,  are  strongly  purgative ;  boiled  with  honey, 
they  are  useful  also  for  sprains,  and  used  either  fresh  or 
dried,  with  salt,  for  gout  in  the  joints. 

Hippocrates  has  prescribed  the  leaves,  either  fresh  or 
dried,  with  honey,  as  a  topical  application  for  abscesses.  Two 
drachmae  of  the  seed  or  root,  in  two  cyathi  of  wine,  are  a 
sufficient  dose  to  act  as  an  emmenagogue,  and  a  similar  quan- 
tity will  have  the  effect  of  bringing  away  the  after-birth,  in 
cases  where  it  is  retarded.62  Hippocrates  used  to  apply  the  root 
also,  for  the  purpose.  They  say  too,  that  in  times  of  pestilence 
the  employment  of  aron  as  an  article  of  food  is  very  beneficial. 
It  dispels  the  fumes  of  wine  ;  and  the  smoke  of  it  burnt  drives 
away  serpents,63  the  asp  in  particular,  or  else  stupefies  them  to 
such  a  degree  as  to  reduce  them  to  a  state  of  torpor.  These 
reptiles  also  will  fly  at  the  approach  of  persons  whose  bodies 
have  been  rubbed  with  a  preparation  of  aron  with  oil  of 
laurel :  hence  it  is  generally  thought  a  good  plan  to  administer 
it  in  red  wine  to  persons  who  have  been  stung  by  serpents. 
Cheese,  it  is  said,  keeps  remarkably  well,  wrapped  in  leaves 
of  this  plant. 

61  F£e  thinks  that,  thus  employed,  it  would  be  more  injurious  than 
beneficial.     Though  Pliny    is  treating   here   of  the  Arum  colocasia  or 
Egyptian  Arum,  he  has  mingled  some  few  details  with  it,  relative  to  the 
Arum  dracunculus,  a  plant  endowed  with  much  more  energetic  properties. 
See  Note  57  above. 

62  See  B.  viii.  c.  54,  as  to  the  use  alleged  to  be  made  by  animals  of  this 

*•*  Fee  says  that  this  is  very  doubtful. 

60  PLINY'S  NATTTBAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 


The  plant  which  I  have  spoken  of65  as  the  dracunculus,  is 
taken  out  of  the  ground  just  when  the  barley  is  ripening,  and 
at  the  moon's  increase.  It  is  quite  sufficient  to  have  this 
plant  about  one,  to  be  safe  from  all  serpents ;  and  it  is  said, 
that  an  infusion  of  the  larger  kind  taken  in  drink,  is  very  useful 
for  persons  who  have  been  stung  by  those  reptiles :  it  is  stated 
also  that  it  arrests  the  catamenia  when  in  excess,  due  care  being 
taken  not  to  let  iron  touch  it.  The  juice  of  it  too  is  very  use- 
ful for  pains  in  the  ears. 

As  to  the  plant  known  to  the  Greeks  by  the  name  of  "  dra- 
contion,"  I  have66  had  it  pointed  out  to  me  under  three  dif- 
ferent forms ;  the  first67  having  the  leaves  of  the  beet,  with  a 
certain  proportion  of  stem,  and  a  purple  flower,  and  bearing 
a  strong  resemblance  to  the  aron.  Other  persons,  again,  have 
described  it  as  a  plant69  with  a  long  root,  embossed  to  all  ap- 
pearance and  full  of  knots,  and  consisting  of  three  stems  in  all ; 
the  same  parties  have  recommended  a  decoction  of  the  leaves 
in  vinegar,  as  curative  of  stings  inflicted  by  serpents.  The 
third70  plant  that  has  been  pointed  out  to  me  has  a  leaf  larger 
than  that  of  the  cornel,  and  a  root  resembling  that  of  the  reed. 
This  root,  I  have  been  assured,  has  as  many  knots  on  it  as  the 
plant  is  years  old,  the  leaves,  too,  being  as  many  in  number. 
The  plant  is  recommended  also  for  the  stings  of  serpents, 
administered  either  in  wine  or  in  water. 


There  is  a  plant  also  called  the  "  arisaros,"71  which  grows 
in  Egypt,  and  is  similar  to  the  aron  in  appearance,  only  that 
it  is  more  diminutive,  and  has  smaller  leaves ;  the  root  too  is 
smaller,  though  fully  as  large  as  a  good- sized  olive.  The 
white  arisaros  throws  out  two  stems,  the  other  kind  only  one. 
They  are  curative,  both  of  them,  of  running  ulcers  and  burns, 
and  are  used  as  an  injection  for  fistulas.  The  leaves,  boiled  in 

65  In  c.  91  of  this  Book.     This  story  is  owing  merely  to  its  appearance, 
which  somewhat  resembles  the  skin  of  a  serpent. 

66  "  Demonstratum  mini  est." 

67  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Aram  Italicum  of  Lamarck. 

69  Fee  queries  whether  this  may  not  be  the  Arum  maculatum  of  Linnaeus, 
wake-robin,  cuckoo  pint,  or  lords  and  ladies. 

10  Identified  by  0.  Bauhin  with  the  Calla  palustris  of  LinnaBUs. 

n  The  Arum  arisarum  of  Linnaeus,  hooded  arum  or  friar's  cowl,  a 
native  of  the  coasts  of  Barbary  and  the  South  of  Europe. 

Chap.  97.]  THE   MYRRHIS.  61 

water,  and  then  beaten  up  with  the  addition  of  oil  of  roses, 
arrest  the  growth  of  corrosive  ulcers.  But  there  is  one  very 
marvellous  fact  connected  with  this  plant — it  is  quite  sufficient 
to  touch  the  sexual  parts  of  any  female  animal  with  it  to  cause 
its  instantaneous  death. 



The  myriophyllon,72  by  our  people  known  as  the  "mille- 
folium  "  has  a  tender  stem,  somewhat  similar  to  fennel-giant 
in  appearance,  with  vast  numbers  of  leaves,  to  which  circum- 
stance it  is  indebted  for  its  name.  It  grows  in  marshy  lo- 
calities, and  is  remarkably  useful  for  the  treatment  of  wounds. 
It  is  taken  in  vinegar  for  strangury,  affections  of  the  bladder, 
asthma,  and  falls  with  violence  ;  it  is  extremely  efficacious  also 
iior  tooth -ache. 

In  Etruria,  the  same  name  is  given  to  a  small  meadow- 
plant,73  provided  with  leaves  at  the  sides,  like  hairs,  and  par- 
ticularly useful  for  wounds.  The  people  of  that  country  say 
that,  applied  with  axle-grease,  it  will  knit  together  and  unite 
the  tendons  of  oxen,  when  they  have  been  accidentally  severed 
by  the  plough-share.74 


The  pseudobunion75  has  the  leaves  of  the  turnip,  and  grows 
in  a  shrub-like  form,  about  a  palm  in  height;  the  most 
esteemed  being  that  of  Crete.  For  gripings  of  the  bowels,  stran- 
gury, and  pains  of  the  thoracic  organs,  some  five  or  six  sprigs 
of  it  are  administered  in  drink. 



The  myrrhis,76  otherwise  known  as  the  myriza  or  myrrha, 

72  Or  "  ten  thousand  leaves."    The  Myriophyllum  spicatura  of  Linnaeus, 
according  to  most  authorities,  though  Fee  considers  it  very  doubtful. 

73  Possibly  the  Achillea  millefolium  of  Linnaeus,  our  milfoil  or  yarrow. 
It  is  still  said  to  have  the  property  of  healing  wounds  made  by  edge-tools, 
for  which  reason  it  is  known  in  France  as  the  "  carpenter's  plant." 

74  This  assertion,  as  Fee  remarks,  is  more  than  doubtful. 

75  "  Bastard  turnip."    Desfontaincs  identifies  it  with  the  Bunium  aro- 
maticum ;  Fee  queries  whether  it  may  not  be  the  Pimpinella  tennis  of 
Sieber,  found  in  Crete.     The  Berberis  vulgaris  has  been  also  suggested. 

76  Desfontaincs-  identifies  it  with  the  Scandix  odorata  of  Linnaeus.     Har- 


bears  a  strong  resemblance  to  hemlock  in  the  stem,  leaves,  and 
blossom,  only  that  it  is  smaller  and  more  slender  :  it  is  by  no 
means  unpleasant  to  the  palate.  Taken  with  wine,  it  acts  as 
an  emmenagogue,  and  facilitates  parturition :  they  say  too  that 
in  times  of  pestilence  it  is  very  wholesome,  taken  in  drink.  It 
is  very  useful  also  for  phthisis,  administered  in  broth.  It 
sharpens  the  appetite,  and  neutralizes  the  venom  of  the  pha- 
langium.  The  juice  of  this  plant,  after  it  has  been  macerated 
some  three  days  in  water,  is  curative  of  ulcers  of  the  face  and 


The  onobrychis77  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  lentil,  only 
somewhat78  longer  ;  the  blossom  is  red,  and  the  root  small  and 
slender.  It  is  found  growing  in  the  vicinity  of  springs. 
Dried  and  reduced  to  powder,  and  sprinkled  in  white  wine, 
it  is  curative  of  strangury,  and  arrests  looseness  of  the 
bowels.  The  juice  of  it,  used  as  a  friction  with  oil,  acts  as  a 

CHAP.    99.     (17.) — CORACESTA  AND  CALLICIA. 

While  I  am  treating  of  plants  of  a  marvellous  nature,  I  am 
induced  to  make  some  mention  of  certain  magical  plants — for 
what,  in  fact,  can  there  be  more  marvellous  than  they  r  The  first 
who  descanted  upon  this  subject  in  our  part  of  the  world  were 
Pythagoras  and  Democritus,  who  have  adopted  the  accounts 
given  by  the  Magi.  Coracesta79  and  callicia,  according  to 
Pythagoras,  are  plants  which  congeal80  water.  I  find  no 
mention  made  of  them,  however,  by  any  other  author,  and  he 
himself  gives  no  further  particulars  relative  to  them. 

douin  says  that  it  is  musk  chervil,  the  Chserophyllum  aromaticum  of  Lin- 
naeus, in  which  he  has  followed  Dodonaeus.  Fuchsius  suggests  the  Chsero- 
phyllum  silvestre  of  Linnaeus :  Fee  expresses  himself  at  a  loss  to  decide. 

77  Probably  the  Hedysarum  onobrycliis  of  Linnasus,  our  sainfoin. 

78  They  are  very  much  larger  than  those  of  the  lentil,  in  fact.     This 
diversity  has  caused  Fee  to  express  some  doubts  whether  it  really  is  iden- 
tical with  sainfoin.     The  Polygala  officinalis  has  also  been  suggested. 

79  Dalechamps  considers  these  appellations  to  mean  the  "  virgins'  plant," 
and  the   "plant  of  beauty." 

80  The  Cissampelos  Pareira,  as  already  stated,  abounds  in  mucilage  to 
such  a  degree,  as  to  impart  a  consistency  to  water,  without  impairing  its 
transparency.     See  c,  72  of  this  Book. 

Chap.  101.]  THE  APEOXIS.  63 


Pythagoras  gives  the  name  of  minsas81  too,  or  corinthia,  to 
another  plant ;  a  decoction  of  which,  used  as  a  fomentation, 
will  effect  an  instantaneous  cure  of  stings  inflicted  by  serpents, 
according  to  him.  He  adds  too,  that  if  this  decoction  is  poured 
upon  the  grass,  and  a  person  happens  to  tread  upon  it,  or  if 
the  body  should  chance  to  be  sprinkled  with  it,  the  result  is 
fatal  beyond  all  remedy ;  so  monstrously  malignant  are  the 
venomous  properties  of  this  plant,  except  as  neutralizing 
other  kinds  of  poison. 


Pythagoras  makes  mention,  too,  of  a  plant  called  aproxis, 
the  root  of  which  takes  fire82  at  a  distance,  like  naphtha,  of 
which  we  have  made  some  mention,  when  speaking83  of  the  mar- 
vellous productions  of  the  earth.  He  says  too,  that  if  the 
human  body  happens  to  be  attacked  by  any  disease  while  the 
cabbage84  is  in  blossom,  the  person,  although  he  may  have 
been  perfectly  cured,  will  be  sensible  of  a  recurrence  of  the 
symptoms,  every  time  that  plant  comes  into  blossom ;  a 
peculiarity  which  he  attributes  to  it  in  common  with  wheat, 
hemlock,  and  the  violet. 

I  am  not  ignorant,  however,  that  the  work  of  his  from 
which  I  have  just  quoted  is  ascribed  to  the  physician  Cleem- 
porua  by  some,  though  antiquity  and  the  unbroken  current  of 
tradition  concur  in  claiming  it  for  Pythagoras.  It  is  quite 
enough,  however,  to  say  in  favour  of  a  book,  that  the  author 
has  deemed  the  results  of  his  labours  worthy  to  be  published 
under  the  name  of  so  great  a  man.  And  yet  who  can  believe 
that  Cleemporus  would  do  this,  seeing  that  he  has  not 
hesitated  to  publish  other  works  under  his  own  name  ? 

81  The  reading  of  this  word  is  doubtful.  Hardouin  thinks  that  it  is  the 
same  as  the  Minyanthes  mentioned  in  B.  xxi.  c.  88. 

62  Fee  says  that  the  only  cases  known  of  a  phenomenon  resembling 
this,  are  those  of  the  Dictamnus  albus,  white  dittany,  which  attracts  flame 
momentarily  when  in  flower,  and  of  the  Tropoeolum  majus,  or  great  Indian 
cress.  He  thinks,  however,  that  there  are  some  trees  so  rich  in  essential 
oil,  that  they  might  possibly  ignite  as  readily  as  naphtha. 

««  In  B.  i'i.  c.  109. 

84  Another  reading  here  is  "  aproxis,"  which  seems  more  probable. 


CHAP.   102.  -  THE    AGLAOPHOTIS     OR    MARMARITIS.        THE 


As  to  Democritus,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  work 
called  "  Chiroemeta"85  belongs  to  him.  How  very  much  more 
marvellous  too  are  the  accounts  given  in  this  book  by  the 
philosopher  who,  next  to  Pythagoras,  has  acquired  the  most  in- 
timate knowledge  of  the  learning  of  the  Magi  !  According 
to  him,  the  plant  aglaophotis,86  which  owes  its  name  to  the 
admiration  in  which  its  beauteous  tints  are  held  by  man,  is 
found  growing  among  the  marble  quarries  of  Arabia,  on  the 
side  of  Persia,  a  circumstance  which  has  given  it  the  additional 
name  of  "  marmaritis."  By  means  of  this  plant,  he  says,  the 
Magi  can  summon  the  deities  into  their  presence  when  they 

The  achaemenis,87  he  says,  a  plant  the  colour  of  amber, 
and  destitute  of  leaves,  grows  in  the  country  of  theTradastili,  an 
Indian  race.  The  root  of  it,  divided  into  lozenges  and  taken 
in  wine  in  the  day  time,  torments  the  guilty  to  suoh  a  degree 
during  the  night  by  the  various  forms  of  avenging  deities  pre- 
sented to  the  imagination,  as  to  extort  from  them  a  confession 
of  their  crimes.  He  gives  it  the  name  also  of  "  hippophobas," 
it  being  an  especial  object  of  terror  to  mares. 

*  The  theobrotion88  is  a  plant  found  at  a  distance  of  thirty 
schceni89  from  the  river  Choaspes  ;  it  represents  the  varied  tints 
of  the  peacock,  and  the  odour  of  it  is  remarkably  fine.  The 

85  "  The  work  of  his  own  hands,"  according  to  Hesychius. 

86  "  Admiration  of  man."      It  is  impossible  to  say  what  plant  is  meant 
under  this  name,  but  the  paeony,  Pseonia  officinalis,  has  been  suggested  ; 
also  the  Tropseolum  majus.      Desfontaines  queries  whether  it  may  not  be 
the  Ceesalpinia  pulcherrima,  a  native  of  the  East.     Some  authors,  Fee 
says,  have  identified  it  with  the  "  Moly  "  of  Homer. 

e7  So  called  from  Aehaemenes,  the  ancestor  of  the  Persian  kings.  Fee 
thinks  that  it  was  a  variety  of  the  Euphorbia  antiquorum,  or  else  a  night- 
shade. 88  "  Food  for  the  gods." 

sy  See  B.  xii.  c.  30  ;  also  the  Introduction  to  Vol.  111. 

Chap.  102.]  THE    THEA.NUEL1S.  65 

kings  of  Persia,  he  says,  are  in  the  habit  of  taking  it  in  their 
food  or  drink,  for  all  maladies  of  the  body,  and  derangements  of 
the  mind.  It  has  the  additional  name  of  semnion,90  from  the 
use  thus  made  of  it  by  majesty. 

He  next  tells  us  of  the  adamantis,91  a  plant  grown  in 
Armenia  and  Cappadocia :  presented  to  a  lion,  he  says,  the  beast 
will  fall  upon  its  back,  and  drop  its  jaws.  Its  name  originates 
in  the  fact  that  it  is  impossible  to  bruise  it.  The  arianis,92 
he  says,  is  found  in  the  country  of  the  Ariani ;  it  is  of  a  fiery 
colour,  and  is  gathered  when  the  sun  is  in  Leo.  Wood  rubbed 
with  oil  will  take  fire  on  coming  in  contact  with  this  plant.  The 
therionarca,93  he  tells  us,  grows  in  Cappadocia  and  Mysia ;  it 
has  the  effect  of  striking  wild  beasts  of  all  kinds  with  a  torpor 
which  can  only  be  dispelled  by  sprinkling  them  with  the  urine 
of  the  hyaena.  He  speaks  too  of  the  aethiopis,94  a  plant  which 
grows  in  Meroe ;  for  which  reason  it  is  also  known  as  the 
"mero'is."  In  leaf  it  resembles  the  lettuce,  and,  taken  with 
honied  wine,  it  is  very  good  for  dropsy.  The  ophiusa,95  which 
is  found  in  Elephantine,  an  island  also  of  ^Ethiopia,  is  a 
plant  of  a  livid  colour,  and  hideous  to  the  sight.  Taken  by  a 
person  in  drink,  he  says,  it  inspires  such  a  horror  of  serpents, 
which  his  imagination  continually  represents  as  menacing  him, 
that  he  commits  suicide  at  last ;  hence  it  is  that  persons  guilty 
of  sacrilege  are  compelled  to  drink  an  infusion  of  it.  Palm 
wine,  he  tells  us,  is  the  only  thing  that  neutralizes  its  effects. 

The  thalasssegle96  he  speaks  of  as  being  found  on  the  banks 
of  the  river  Indus,  from  which  circumstance  it  is  also  known 
as  the  potamaugis.97  Taken  in  drink  it  produces  a  delirium,98 
which  presents  to  the  fancy  visions  of  a  most  extraordinary 
nature.  The  theangelis,"  he  says,  grows  upon  Mount  Li- 

90  "Venerable  "  or  "  majestic."  91  "  Hard  as  a  diamond." 

12  The  Spina  Ariana  is  mentioned  in  B.  xii.  c.  18. 

93  See  B.  xx.  c.  65,  where  a  plant  is  mentioned  by  this  name. 

94  Dalecbamps  thinks  that  an  Euphorbia  is  meant  under  this  name. 

95  "  Serpent-plant."     Fee  thinks  that  a  hemlock  may  possibly  be  meant, 
or  perhaps  the  Arum  serpentaria  ;  see  c.  93  of  this  Book, 

96  «  Brightness  of  the  sea."    A  narcotic  plant,  Fee  thinks,  probably  a 

97  Hardouin  suggests  "  potamitis,"  river-plant. 

98  It  is  not  impossible  that  this  may  in  reality  be  an  allusion  to  the 
effects  of  opium,  or  of  hasheesh. 

99  "  Messenger  of  the  gods,"   apparently. 

VOL.   Y.  P 


banus  in  Syria,  upon  the  chain  of  mountains  called  Dicte  in 
Crete,  and  at  Babylon  and  Susa  in  Persis.  An  infusion  of  it 
in  drink,  imparts  powers  of  divination  to  the  Magi.  The 
gelotophyllis1  too,  is  a  plant  found  in  Bactriana,  and  on  the 
banks  of  the  Borysthenes.  Taken  internally  with  myrrh  and 
wine,  all  sorts  of  visionary  forms  present  themselves,  and 
excite  the  most  immoderate  laughter,  which  can  only  be  put 
an  end  to  by  taking  kernels  of  the  pine-nut,  with  pepper  and 
honey,  in  palm  wine. 

The  hestiatoris,3  he  tells  us,  is  a  Persian  plant,  so  called  from 
its  promotion  of  gaiety  and  good  fellowship  at  carousals. 
Another  name  for  it  is  protomedia,  because  those  who  eat  of  it 
will  gain  the  highest  place  in  the  royal  favour.  The  casignetes3 
too,  we  learn,  is  so  called,  because  it  grows  only  among  plants 
of  its  own  kind,  and  is  never  found  in  company  with  any 
other;  another  name  given  to  it  is  "  dionysonymphas,"4  from 
the  circumstance  of  its  being  remarkably  well  adapted  to  the 
nature  of  wine.  Helianthes5  is  the  name  he  gives  to  a  plant 
found  in  the  regions  of  Themiscyra  and  the  mountainous  parts 
of  maritime  Cilicia,  with  leaves  like  those  of  myrtle.  This 
plant  is  boiled  up  with  lion's  fat,  saffron  and  palm  wine  being 
added;  the  Magi,  he  tells  us,  and  Persian  monarchs  are  in 
the  habit  of  anointing  the  body  with  the  preparation,  to  add 
to  its  graceful  appearance :  he  states  also,  that  for  this  reason 
it  has  the  additional  name  of  "  heliocallis."6  What  the  same 
author  calls  "  hermesias,"7  has  the  singular  virtue  of  ensuring 
the  procreation  of  issue,  both  beautiful  as  well  as  good.  It  is 
not  a  plant,  however,  but  a  composition  made  of  kernels  of 
pine  nuts,  pounded  with  honey,  myrrh,  saffron,  and  palm  wine, 
to  which  theobrotium8  and  milk  are  then  added.  He  also 

1  "Laughing leaves."     Possibly,  Fee  thinks,  the  Ranunculus  philonotis, 
the  Herba  Sardoa  or  Sardonic  plant  of  Virgil,  known  by  some  authorities 
as  the  Apium  risus,  or  "  laughing  parsley."      Desfontaines  suggests   that 
hemp  (prepared  in  the  form  of  hasheesh)  is  meant. 

2  "  Convivial "  plant.     Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Areca  catechu, 
which,  is  chewed  in  India  for  the  benefit  of  the  teeth  and  stomach,  and  as  a 
sweetener  of  the  breath. 

3  "  Brother  "  plant.  4  "  Bride  of  Dionysus  or  Bacchus." 

5  "  Sun-flower."     Not  the  plant,  however,  known  to  us  by  that  name. 

6  "  Beauty  of  the  sun,"  apparently. 

7  "  Mixture  of  Hermes,"  apparently. 

6  Previously  mentioned  in  this  Chapter. 

Chap.  103.]  THE    EPxIPHIA.  g; 

recommends  those  who  wish  to  become  parents  to  drink  this 
mixture,  and  says,  that  females  should  take  it  immediately 
after  conception,  and  during  pregnancy.9  If  this  is  done,  he 
says,  the  infant  will  be  sure  to  be  endowed  with  the  highest 
qualities,  both  in  mind  and  body.  In  addition  to  what  has 
here  been  stated,  Democritus  gives  the  various  names  by  which 
all  these  plants  are  known  to  the  Magi. 

Apollodorus,  one  of  the  followers  of  Democritus,  has  added 
to  this  list  the  herb  aeschynomene,10  so  called  from  the  shrink- 
ing of  its  leaves  at  the  approach  of  the  hand ;  and  another 
called  "crocis,"11  the  touch  of  which  is  fatal  to  the  phalan- 
gium.  Crateuas,  also,  speaks  of  the  cenotheris,12  an  infusion  of 
which  in  wine,  sprinkled  upon  them,  has  the  effect  of  taming 
all  kind  of  animals,  however  wild.  A  celebrated  grammarian,13 
who  lived  but  very  recently,  has  described  the  anacampseros,14 
the  very  touch  of  which  recalls  former  love,  even  though 
hatred  should  have  succeeded  in  its  place.  It  will  be  quite 
sufficient  for  the  present  to  have  said  thus  much  in  reference 
to  the  remarkable  virtues  attributed  to  certain  plants  by  the 
Magi ;  as  we  shall  have  occasion  to  revert  to  this  subject  in  a 
more  appropriate  place.15 

CHAP.    103.    (18.) THE    ERIPHIA. 

Many  authors  have  made  mention  of  the  eriphia,1*  a  plant 
which  contains  a  kind  of  beetle  in  its  -hollow  stem.  This 

5  As  Fee  remarks,  it  has  been  a  notion  in  comparatively  recent  times, 
that  it  is  possible  to  procreate  children  of  either  sex  at  pleasure. 

10  The  "bashful"  plant.      An  Acacia,  Fee  thinks;  see  B.  xiii.  c.  19. 
The  Mimosa  casta,  pudica,  and  sensitiva,  have  similar  properties :  the  Sensi- 
tive Plant  is  well  known  in  this  country. 

11  Fee  queries  whether  this  may  not  be  the  Silene  rauscipula  of  Lin- 
na3iis,  the  fly-trap.  12  The  "wine-tamer." 

13  Hardouin  thinks  that  he  alludes  to  the  Grammarian  Apion.     Dale- 
cliamps  thinks  that  it  is  either  Apion  or  Apollodorus. 

14  The  "returning"  plant.     Fee  says  that  the  Sedum  Telephium  of 
Linnreus,  or  orpine,  is  called  in  the  dictionaries  by  this  name.     He  queries 
whether  it  m;iy  not  be  the  Sedum  anacampseros,  or  evergreen  orpine,  as 
Hesychius  says  that  it  continues  to   live  after  being  taken   up  from  tbe 
earth  ;  a  peculiarity,  to  some  extent,  of  the  house-leek. 

15  He  probably  alludes  to  his  remarks  upon  Magic, in  Books  xxix.  and  xxx. 

16  From  ept0o£,  a  "kid."     Ruellius  has  attempted  to  identify  this  plant 
with  one  of  the  Ranunculaceae ;  but  there  is  little  doubt,  as  Fee  says,  that 
both  plant  and  insect  are  imaginary, 

F   2 

68  PLINY'S  NATUKAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXIV. 

beetle  is  continually  ascending  the  interior  of  the  stalk,  and 
as  often  descending,  while  it  emits  a  sound  like  the  cry  of  a 
kid ;  a  circumstance  to  which  the  plant  is  indebted  for  its  name. 
There  is  nothing  in  existence,  they  say,  more  beneficial  to  the 

CHAP.   104. THE    WOOL    PLANT  I    ONE    KEMEDY.        THE    LACTOKIS  : 


The  wool  plant,17  given  to  sheep  fasting,  greatly  increases  the 
milk.  The  plant  commonly  called  lactoris,18  is  equally  well 
known :  it  is  full  of  a  milky  juice,  the  taste  of  which  produces 
vomiting.  Some  persons  say  that  this  is  identical  with,  while 
others  say  that  it  only  resembles,  the  plant  known  as  "mili- 
taris,"19  from  the  fact  that,  applied  with  oil,  it  will  effect  the 
cure,  within  five  days,  of  any  wound  that  has  been  inflicted 
with  iron. 


The  Greeks  speak  in  high  terms  also  of  the  stratiotes,20 
though  that  is  a  plant  which  grows  in  Egypt  only,  and  during 
the  inundations  of  the  river  Nilus.  It  is  similar  in  appearance 
to  the  aizoon,21  except  that  the  leaves  are  larger.  It  is  of  a 
remarkably  cooling  nature,  and,  applied  with  vinegar,  it  heals 
wounds,  as  well  as  erysipelas  and  suppurations..  Taken  in 
drink  with  male  frankincense,  it  is  marvellously  useful  for 
discharges  of  blood 'from  the  kidneys. 

CHAP.  106.  (19.) A  PLANT  GROWING  ON  THE  HEAD  OP  A 


It   is  asserted  also,  that  a  plant  growing22  on  the  head  of  a 

17  "Herba  lanaria."     See  B.  xix.  c.  18. 

18  Hardouin  identifies  it  with  the  Ulva  lactuca  of  Linneeus;  but  that 
plant,  Fee  says,  contains  no  milky  j  nice,  and  does  not  act  as  an  emetk*. 
One  of  the  Euphorbiaceae  is  probably  meant. 

19  "  Military  "  plant.     Hardouin  identifies  it  with  the  Achillea  mille- 
folium  of  Linnaeus,  mentioned  in  c.  95  of  this  Book.     Fee,  however,  docs 
not  recognize  the  identity. 

20  "  Soldier  "  plant.     Csesalpinus  identifies  it  with  the  Salvinia  natans ; 
but  Fee  thinks,  with  Sprengel,  that  it  is  the  Pistia  stratiotes  of  Linnaeus, 
great  duckweed  or  pondweed. 

21  "  Always  living."     See  B.  xix.  c,  58. 

22  It  is  pretty  clear  that  in  relating  this,  absurdity  he  is  not  speaking  ot 
one  plant  solely,  but  of  any  plant  which  may  chance  to  grow  on  the  head 

Chap.  112.]  THE   EODAEUM.  69 

statue,  gathered  in  the  lappet  of  any  one  of  the  garments,  and 
then  attached  with  a  red  string  to  the  neck,  is  an  instantaneous 
cure  for  head- ache. 

CHAP.  107. — A  PLANT    GROWING    ON    THE   BANKS    OF   A   RIVER: 

Any  plant  that  is  gathered  before  sunrise  on  the  banks  of  a 
stream  or  river,  due  care  being  taken  that  no  one  sees  it 
gathered,  attached  to  the  left  arm  without  the  patient  knowing 
what  it  is,  will  cure  a  tertian  fever,  they  say. 

CHAP.   108.— THE    HERB    CALLED    LINGUA  I    ONE    REMEDY. 

There  is  a  herb  called  "  lingua,"23  which  grows  in  the 
vicinity  of  fountains.  The  root  of  it,  reduced  to  ashes  and 
beaten  up  with  hog's  lard — the  hog,  they  say,  must  have  been 
black  and  barren — will  cure  alopecy,  the  head  being  rubbed 
with  it  in  the  sun. 

CHAP.  109. PLANTS   THAT    TAKE    ROOT    IN    A    SIEVE  I    ONE 


Plants  that  take  root  in  a  sieve  that  has  been  thrown  in 
a  hedge-row,  if  gathered  and  worn  upon  the  person  by  a.  preg- 
nant woman,  will  i'acilitate  delivery. 


A  plant  that  has  been  grown  upon  a  dungheap  in  a  field,  is 
a  very  efficacious  remedy,  taken  in  water,  for  quinzy. 


URINE  OF   A    DOG  :     ONE    REMEDY. 

A  plant  upon  which  a  dog  has  watered,  torn  up  by  the  roots, 
and  not  touched  with  iron,  is  a  very  speedy  cure  for  sprains. 

CHAP.   112. THE    ROD  ARUM!     THREE    REMEDIES. 

We  have  already24  made  mention  of  the  rumpotinus,  when 
speaking  of  the  vine-growing25  trees.  Near  the  tree,  when  not 

of  a  statue.  Numerous  mosses  grow  upon  marble ;  and  statues  are 
gradually  covered,  Fee  says,  with  the  Byssus  antiquitatis. 

23  "  Tongue  "  plant.   Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Scolopendrium  officinaruru 
of  "Willdenow,  the  Lingua  cervina  of  other  botanists.     See  B.  xxv.  c.  84. 

24  In  B.  xiv.  c.  3.  25  Or  "  vine-supporting." 

70  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOKT.        [Book  XXIV. 

accompanied  by  the  vine,  there  grows  a  plant,  known  to  the 
Gauls  as  the  "rodarurn."26  It  has  a  knotted  stem  like  the 
branch  of  a  fig-tree,  and  the  leaves,  which  are  very  similar  to 
those  of  the  nettle,  are  white  in  the  middle,  though  in  process 
of  time  they  become  red  all  over.  The  blossom  of  it  is  of  a 
silvery  hue.  Beaten  up  with  stale  axle-grease,  due  care  being 
taken  not  to  touch  it  with  iron,  this  plant  is  extremely  useful 
for  tumours,  inflammations,  and  gatherings ;  the  patient,  how- 
ever, on  being  anointed  with  it  must  spit  three  times  on  the 
right  side.  They  say  too,  that  as  a  remedy  it  is  still  more 
efficacious,  if  three  persons  of  three  different  nations  rub  the 
right  side  of  the  body  with  it. 


The  plant  called  "impia"27  is  white,  resembling  rosemary 
in  appearance.  It  is  clothed  with  leaves  like  a  thyrsus,  and  is 
terminated  by  a  head,  from  which  a  number  of  small  branches 
protrude,  terminated,  all  of  them,  in  a  similar  manner.  It  is 
this  peculiar  conformation  that  has  procured  for  it  the  name 
of  "  impia,"  from  the  progeny  thus  surmounting  the  parent. 
Some  persons,  however,  are  of  opinion  that  it  is  so  called 
because  no  animal  will  touch  it.  Bruised  between  two  stones 
it  yields  an  effervescent  juice,  which,  in  combination  with 
wine  and  milk,  is  remarkably  efficacious  for  quinzy. 

There  is  a  marvellous  property  attributed  to  this  plant,  to 
the  effect  that  persons  who  have  once  tasted  it  will  never  be 
attacked  by  quinzy ;  for  which  reason  it  is  given  to  swine : 
those  among  them,  however,  which  refuse  to  take  it  will  be  sure 
to  die  of  that  disease.  Some  persons  too  are  of  opinion  that 
if  slips  of  it  are  put  into  a  bird's  nest,  they  will  effectually 
prevent  the  young  birds  from  choking  themselves  by  eating  too 

CHAP.    114. THE   PLANT    CALLED   VENUS*    COMB  I     ONE    EEMEDT. 

Prom  its  resemblance  to  a  comb,  they  give  the  name  of 
"  Venus'  comb"29  to  a  certain  plant,  the  root  of  which,  bruised 

16  Fee  suggests  that  this  may  possibly  be  the  Spiraea  ulmaria  of  Linnaeus. 

27  The  "  impious  "  or  "  unnatural "  plant,  Fee  identifies  it  with  the 
Filago  Gallica  of  Linnaeus,  the  corn  cudweed.  It  is  destitute  of  medicinal 
properties,  and  what  Pliny  states  is  without  foundation. 

29  Generally  identified  with  the  Scandix  pecten  Veneris,  corn  cicely,  or 
shepherd's  needle.  See  B.  xxii.  c.  38. 

Chap.  117.]  TORDILON   OR   SYREON.  71 

with  mallows,  extracts  all  foreign  substances  from  the  human 

CHAP.   115. THE   EXEDTJM.       THE    PLANT    CALLED    NOTIA  I    TWO 


The  plant  called  "  exedum"30  is  curative  of  lethargy.  The 
herbaceous  plant  called  "notia,"  which  is  used  by  curriers 
for  dyeing  leather  a  bright,  cheerful  colour,  and  known  by 
them  under  various  names — is  curative  of  cancerous  ulcers ; 
I  find  it  also  stated  that,  taken  in  wine  or  in  oxycrate,  it  is 
extremely  efficacious  for  stings  inflicted  by  scorpions. 

CHAP.   116. THE    PHILANTHROPOS  :    ONE    REMEDY.       THE    LAPPA 


The  Greeks  wittily  give  the  name  of  "  philanthropes"31  to  a 
certain  plant,  because  it  attaches  itself  to  articles  of  dress.3- 
A  chaplet  made  of  this  plant  has  the  effect  of  relieving  head- 

As  to  the  plant  known  as  the  "  lappa  canaria,"33  beaten  up 
in  wine  with  plantago  and  mille folium,34  it  effects  the  cure  of 
carcinomatous  sores,  the  application  being  removed  at  the  end  of 
three  days.  Taken  out  of  the  ground  without  the  aid  of  iron, 
and  thrown  into  their  wash,  or  given  to  them  in  wine  and  milk,  it 
cures  diseases  in  swine.  Some  persons  add,  however,  that  the 
person,  as  he  takes  it  up,  must  say — "  This  is  the  plant  arge- 
mon,  a  remedy  discovered  by  Minerva  for  such  swine  as  shall 
taste  thereof/* 


Tordylon  is,  according  to  some  authorities,  the  seed  of  sili,35 
while  according  to  others  it  is  a  distinct  plant,36  known  also 
as  "  syreon."  I  find  no  particulars  relative  to  it,  except  that 

30  Fee  queries  whether  this  may  not  possibly  he  the  Rhus  coriaria  of 
Linnaeus,  elm-leaved  sumach,  mentioned  in  B.  xiii.   c.  13.      He  would 
appear,  however,  to  have  confounded  it  with  the  Notia,  next  mentioned. 

31  "  Man-loving,"  or  rather  "  attached  to  man."      Identified  with  the 
Galium  aparine  of  Linnaeus,  goose-grass,  or  common  ladies  bedstraw  ;  the 
seeds  of  which  attach  themselves  to  the  dress.  32  See  B.  xxi.  c.  64. 

33  The  dog -bur.   The  Lappa  tomentosa  of  Lamarck.   See  B.  xxvi.  c.  65. 

34  See  c.  95  of  this  Book. 

35  Or  hartwort;  see  B.  xx.  cc.  18,  87. 

38  The  Tordylium  officinale  of  Linnaeus,  officinal  hart- wort. 

72  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 

it  grows  upon  mountains,  and  that  the  ashes  of  it,  taken  in 
drink,  act  as  an  einmenagogue  and  facilitate  expectoration.  It 
is  stated  also,  that  for  this  last  purpose  the  root  is  even  more 
efficacious  than  the  stem;  that  the  juice  of  it,  taken  in  doses  of 
three  oboli,  cures  diseases  of  the  kidneys  ;  and  that  the  root  is 
used  as  an  ingredient  for  emollient  plasters. 


Gramen37  is  of  all  herbaceous  productions  the  most  common. 
As  it  creeps  along  the  ground  it  throws  out  jointed  stems,  from 
the  joints  of  which,  as  well  as  from  the  extremity  of  the  stem, 
fresh  roots  are  put  forth  every  here  and  there.  In  all  other 
parts  of  the  world  the  leaves  of  it  are  tapering,  and  come  to  a 
point ;  but  upon  Mount  Parnassus38  they  resemble  the  leaves  of 
the  ivy,  the  plant  throwing  out  a  greater  number  of  stems  than 
elsewhere,  and  bearing  a  blossom  that  is  white  and  odoriferous. 
There  is  no  vegetable  production  that  is  more  grateful39  to 
beasts  of  burden  than  this,  whether  in  a  green  state  or  whe- 
ther dried  and  made  into  hay,  in  which  last  case  it  is  sprinkled 
with  water  when  given  to  them.  It  is  said  that  on  Mount 
Parnassus  a  juice  is  extracted  from  it,  which  is  very  abun- 
dant and  of  a  sweet  flavour. 

In  other  parts  of  the  world,  instead  of  this  juice  a  decoction 
of  it  is  employed  for  closing  wounds ;  an  eliect  equally  pro- 
duced by  the  plant  itself,  which  is  beaten  up  for  the  purpose 
and  attached  to  the  part  affected,  thereby  preventing  inflamma- 
tion. To  the  decoction  wine  and  honey  are  added,  and  in  some 
cases,  frankincense,  pepper,  and  myrrh,  in  the  proportion  of  one 
third  of  each  ingredient;  after  which  it  is  boiled  again  in  a 
copper  vessel,  when  required  for  tooth- ache  or  defluxions  of  the 
eyes.  A  decoction  of  the  roots,  in  wine,  is  curative  of  griping 
pains  in  the  bowels,  strangury,  and  ulcerations  of  the  bladder, 
and  it  disperses  calculi.  The  seed  is  still  more  powerful  as  a 
diuretic,40  arrests  looseness  and  vomiting,  and  is  particularly 

37  u  Grass."  The  Triticum  repens,  or  Paspalum  dactylon  of  Linnaeus, 
our  couch-grass. 

33  This  is  probably  quite  a  different  production,  being  the  Parnassia 
palustris,  according  to  Dodonaeus ;  but  Fee  is  inclined  to  think  that  it  is 
the  Campanula  rapunculus  of  Linnaeus,  bell-flower  or  rampions. 

39  Fee  thinks  that  this  appplies  to  the  plant  of  Parnassus,  and  not  to  ' 
the  common  Gramen. 

40  This  property,  Fee  says,  is  still  attributed  to  couch-grass. 

Chap.  119.]  DACTFL03.  73 

useful  for  wounds  inflicted  by  dragons.41  There  are  some 
authorities  which  give  the  following  prescription  for  the  cure 
of  scrofulous  sores  and  inflamed  tumours  : — From  one,  two, 
or  three  stems,  as  many  as  nine  joints  must  be  removed, 
which  must  then  be  wrapped  in  black  wool  with  the  grease  in 
it.  The  party  who  gathers  them  must  do  so  fasting,  and  must 
then  go,  in  the  same  state,  to  the  patient's  house  while  he  is 
from  home.  When  the  patient  comes  in,  the  other  must  say  to 
him  three  times,  "  I  come  fasting  to  bring  a  remedy  to  a  fast- 
ing man;"  and  must  then  attach  the  amulet  to  his  person,  re- 
peating the  same  ceremony  three  consecutive  days.  The 
variety  of  this  plant  which  has  seven43  joints  is  considered  a 
most  excellent  amulet  for  the  cure  of  head-ache.  For  excru- 
ciating pains  in  the  bladder,  some  recommend  a  decoction  of 
gramen,  boiled  down  in  wine  to  one  half,  to  be  taken  imme- 
diately after  the  bath. 


There  are  some  authorities  who  mention  three  varieties  of 
the  pointed  gramen.  That  which  has  at  the  extremity  five43 
points  at  the  utmost,  is  called  "dactylos."  Twisting  these 
points  together,  persons  introduce  them  into  the  nostrils  and  then 
withdraw  them,  with  the  view  of  preventing  haemorrhage. 
The  second  kind,  which  resembles  aizoon/4  is  employed  with 
axle-grease  for  whitlows  and  hangnails,  and  for  fleshy  excres- 
cences upon  the  nails :  this  also  is  called  "  dactylos,"  because 
it  is  so  useful  as  a  remedy  for  diseases  of  the  fingers. 

The  third45  kind,  which  is  also  known  as  "  dactylos,"  is  more 
diminutive,  and  is  found  growing  upon  walls  or  tiles.  It  has 
certain  caustic  properties,  and  arrests  the  progress  of  serpigi- 
nous  ulcers.  By  placing  a  wreath  of  gramen  round  the  head, 
bleeding  at  the  nose  is  stopped.  In  Babylonia,  it  is  said,  the 
gramen4G  which  grows  by  the  wayside  is  fatal  to  camels. 

41  "  Draconum."  A  peculiar  kind  of  serpent.  See  Lucan's  Pharsalia, 
B.  ix.  11.  727-8.  42  No  such  variety  is  known. 

43  Fee  is  somewhat  at  a  loss  as  to  its-  identity,  but  thinks  that  it  may  be 
the  Panicum  sanguinale  of  Linmeus,  or  possibly  the  Cynodon  dactykm. 

44  See  B.  xix.  c.  58,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  102.    Possibly  a  Sedum  or  houseleek, 
Fee  thinks  ;  certainly  not  a  grass. 

45  Fee  queries  whether  this  may  not  be  the  Poa  rigida  of  Linnaus,  hard 

46  An  Euphorbia,  Fee  thinks. 



NOT  is  fenugreek  held  in  less  esteem.  By  some  it  is  known 
as  "  telis,"  by  others  as  "  carphos,"  and  by  others  again  as 
"buceras,"47  or  "  segoceras,"47  the  produce  of  it  bearing  some 
resemblance  to  horns.  Among  us  it  is  known  as  "  silicia." 
The  mode  of  sowing  it  we  have  already48  described  on  the 
appropriate  occasion.  Its  properties  are  desiccative,49  emollient, 
and  resolvent.  A  decoction  of  it  is  useful  for  many  female 
maladies,  indurations  for  instance,  tumours,  and  contractions  of 
the  uterus ;  in  all  which  cases  it  is  employed  as  a  fomentation  or 
used  for  a  sitting-bath :  it  is  serviceable  also  as  an  injection. 
It  removes  cutaneous  eruptions  on  the  face ;  and  a  decoction  of 
it,  applied  topically  with  nitre  or  vinegar,  cures  diseases  of 
the  spleen  or  liver.  In  cases  of  difficult  labour,  Diocles  re- 
commends the  seed  pounded,  in  doses  of  one  acetabulum, 
mixed  with  boiled50  must.  After  taking  one  third  of  the  mix- 
ture, the  patient  must  use  a  warm  bath,  and  then,  while  in  a 
perspiration,  she  must  take  another  third,  and,  immediately 
after  leaving  the  bath,  the  remainder — this,  he  says,  will  prove 
a  most  effectual  means  of  obtaining  relief. 

The  same  authority  recommends  fenugreek  boiled,  with 
barley  or  linseed,  in  hydromel,  as  a  pessary  for  violent  pains 
in  the  uterus :  he  prescribes  it  also  as  an  external  application 
for  the  lower  regions  of  the  abdomen.  He  speaks  also  of 
treating  leprous  sores  and  freckles  with  a  mixture  composed 
of  equal  proportions  of  sulphur  and  meal  of  fenugreek,  recom- 
mending it  to  be  applied  repeatedly  in  the  course  of  the  day, 
due  care  being  taken  not  to  rub  the  part  affected. 

For  the  cure  of  leprosy,  Theodorus  prescribes  a  mixture  of 
fenugreek,  and  one  fourth  part  of  cleaned  nasturtium,  the  whole 
to  be  steeped  in  the  strongest  vinegar.  Damion  used  to  give 
a  potion  by  way  of  emmenagogue,  consisting  of  half  an  aceta- 
bulum of  fenugreek  seed  in  nine  cyathi  of  boiled  must51  and 
water.  There  is  no  doubt  too,  that  a  decoction  of  it  is  re- 
markably useful  for  diseases  of  the  uterus  and  for  ulcerations 

47  "Bull's  horn"  or  "goat's  horn."  &  In  B.xviii.  c.  39. 

4a  The  seed  contains  a  mucilage,  and  is  considered  emollient  and  resolvent. 
Till  recently,  Fenugreek  was  the  base,  Fee  says,  of  a  plaster  held  in  high 
esteem.  * 

50  "  Sapa."     Grape-juice  boiled  down  to  one-third. 


Chap.  120.]  SUMMARY.  75 

of  the  intestines,  and  that  the  seed  is  beneficial  for  affections 
of  the  joints  and  chest.  Boiled  with  mallows  and  then  taken 
in  honied  wine,  fenugreek  is  extolled  in  the  highest  terms,  as  , 
serviceable  for  affections  of  the  uterus  and  intestines.  Indeed, 
the  very  steam  that  arises  from  the  decoction  may  be  produc- 
tive of  considerable  benefit.  A  decoction  too  of  fenugreek  seed 
is  a  corrective  of  the  rank  odours  of  the  armpits.  Meal  of 
fenugreek,  with  wine  and  nitre,  speedily  removes  ring-worm 
and  dandriff  of  the  head  ;  and  a  decoction  of  it  in  hydromel, 
with  the  addition  of  axle-grease,  is  used  for  the  cure  of  diseases 
of  the  generative  organs,  inflamed  tumours,  imposthumes  of 
the  parotid  glands,  gout  in  the  feet  and  hands,  maladies  of 
the  joints,  and  denudations  of  the  bones.  Kneaded  with 
vinegar,  it  effects  the  cure  of  sprains,  and,  boiled  in  oxymel 
only,  it  is  used  as  a  liniment  for  affections  of  the  spleen. 
Kneaded  with  wine,  it  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  carcinomatous 
sores ;  after  which,  applied  with  hone}',  it  effects  a  perfect  cure. 
A  pottage  too  is  made  of  this  meal,  which  is  taken  for  ulcera- 
tions  of  the  chest  and  chronic  coughs ;  it  is  kept  boiling  a  con- 
siderable time,  in  order  to  remove  the  bitterness,52  after  which 
honey  is  added. 

We  shall  now  proceed  to  speak  of  the  plants  which  have 
gained  a  higher  degree  of  reputation. 

SUMMARY. — Remedies,  narratives,  and  observations,  eleven 
hundred  and  seventy- six. 

ROMAN  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — C.  Yalgius,53  Pompeius  Lenaeus,54 
Sextius  Niger55  who  wrote  in  Greek,  Julius  Eassus56  who 
wrote  in  Greek,  Antonius  Castor,57  Cornelius  Celsus.58 

FOREIGN  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Theophrastus,59  Apollodorus,60 
Democritus,61  Orpheus,62  Pythagoras,63  Mago,64  Menan- 

52  Fee  remarks,  that  in  reality  there  is  no  bitterness  in  fenugreek.     He 
suggests  therefore,  that  the  meaning  maybe  "  offensive  smell,"  that  emitted 
by  fenugreek  being  far  from  agreeable. 

53  See  end  of  B.  xx.  M  See  end  of  B.  xiv. 
55  See  end  of  B.  xii.  66  See  end  of  B.  xx. 
51  See  end  of  B.  xx.  58  See  end  of  B.  vii. 
59  See  end  of  B.  iii.  6°  See  end  of  B.  xi. 
61  See  end  of  B.  ii.  62  gee  en(i  Of  3.  xx. 
03  See  end  of  B.  ii.  6*  See  end  of  B.  Yin. 

76  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXIV. 

dei165  who  wrote  the  "  Biochresta,"  Meander,66  Homer,  He- 
siod,67  Musseus,68  Sophocles,69  Anaxilatis.70 

MEDICAL  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Mnesitheus,71  Callimachus,72 
Phanias73  the  physician,  Timaristus,74  Simus,75  Hippo- 
crates,76 Chrysippus,77  Diocles,78  Ophelion,79  Heraclides,80  Hi- 
cesius,81  Dionysius,82  Apollodorus83  of  Citium,  Apollodorus84 
of  Tarentuin,  Praxagoras,85  Plistonicus,86  Medius,87  Dieuches,88 
Cleophantus,89  Philistion,90  Asclepiades,91  Crateuas,93  Petronius 
Diodotus,93  lollas,94  Erasistratus,95  Diagoras,86  Andreas, 
Mnesides,97  Epicharinus,58  Damion,"  Sosinienes,1  Tlepolemus,2 
Metrodorus,8  Solon,4  Lycus,5  Olympias6  of  Thebes,  Philinus,7 
Petrichus,8  Micton,9  Glaucias,10  Xenocrates.11 

65  See  end  of  B.  xix.  •     6G  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

67  See  end  of  B.  vii.  e8  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

9  See  end  of  B.  xxi.  70  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

See  end  of  B.  xxi.  72  See  end  of  B.  iv. 

See  end  of  B.  xxi.  74  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

See  end  of  B.  xxi.  76  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

77  See  end  of  B.  xx.  ~8  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

79  See  end  of  B.  xx.  80  Se.e  end  of  B.  xii. 

81  See  end  of  B.  xxv.  82  See  end  of  B.  xxii. 

63  See  end  of  B.  xx.  84  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

85  See  end  of  B.  xx.  £6  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

87  See  end  of  B.  xx.  S8  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

83  See  end  of  B.  xx.  90  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

91  See  end  of  B.  vil  92  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

93  See  end  of  B.  xx.  94  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

95  See  end  of  B.  xi.  96  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

97  See  end  of  B.  xx.  98  See  end  of  B.  xii.    ' 

99  See  end  of  B.  xx.  l  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

2  See  end  of  B.  xx.  3  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

4  See  end  of  B.  xx.  5  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

6  See  end  of  B.  xii.  7  See  end  of  B  xx. 

8  See  end  of  B.  xx.  9  See  end  of  B.  xix. 

10  See  end  of  B.  xx.  u  See  end  of  B.  xx. 
12  See  end  of  B.  xx. 






THE  more  highly  esteemed  plants  of  which  I  am  now  about 
to  speak,  and  which  are  produced  by  the  earth  for  medicinal 
purposes  solely,  inspire  me  with  admiration  of  the  industry 
and  laborious  research  displayed  by  the  ancients.  Indeed  there 
is  nothing  that  they  have  not  tested  by  experiment  or  left 
untried ;  no  discovery  of  theirs  which  they  have  not  disclosed, 
or  which  they  have  not  been  desirous  to  leave  for  the  benefit 
of  posterity.  We,  on  the  contrary,  at  the  present  day,  make 
it  our  object  to  conceal  and  suppress  the  results  of  our  labours, 
and  to  defraud  our  fellow- men  of  blessings  even  which  have 
been  purchased  by  others.  For  true  it  is,  beyond  all  doubt, 
that  those  who  have  gained  any  trifling  accession  of  knowledge, 
keep  it  to  themselves,  and  envy  the  enjoyment  of  it  by  others;  to 
leave  mankind  uninstructed  being  looked  upon  as  the  high  prero- 
gative of  learning.  So  far  is  it  from  being  the  habit  with  them 
to  enter  upon  new  fields  of  discovery,  with  the  view  of  bene- 
fitting  mankind  at  large,  that  for  this  long  time  past  it  has  been 
the  greatest  effort  of  the  ingenuity  of  each,  to  keep  to  himself 
the  successful  results  of  the  experience  of  former  ages,  and  so 
bury  them  for  ever ! 

And  yet,  by  Hercules !  a  single  invention  before  now  has 
elevated  men  to  the  rank  of  gods ;  and  how  many  an  individual 
has  had  his  name  immortalized  in  being  bestowed  upon  some 
plant  which  he  was  the  first  to  discover,  thanks  to  the 
gratitude  which  prompted  a  succeeding  age  to  make  some 
adequate  return !  If  it  had  been  expended  solely  upon  the 
plants  which  are  grown  to  please  the  eye,  or  which  invite 
us  by  their  nutrimental  properties,  this  laborious  research  on 
the  part  of  the  ancients  would  not  have  been  so  surprising ; 
but  in  addition  to  this,  we  find  them  climbing  by  devious 
tracts  to  the  very  summit  of  mountains,  penetrating  to  the  very 


heart  of  wilds  and  deserts,  and  searching  into  every  vein  and 
fibre  of  the  earth — and  all  this,  to  discover  the  hidden  virtues 
of  every  root,  the  properties  of  the  leaf  of  every  plant,  and  the 
various  purposes  to  which  they  might  be  applied ;  converting 
thereby  those  vegetable  productions,  which  the  very  beasts  of 
the  field  refuse  to  touch,  into  so  many  instruments  for  our 



This  subject  has  not  been  treated  of  by  the  writers  in  our 
own  language  so  extensively  as  it  deserves,  eager  as  they  have 
proved  themselves  to  make  enquiry  into  everything  that  is 
either  meritorious  or  profitable.  M.  Cato,  that  great  master 
in  all  useful  knowledge,  was  the  first,  and,  for  a  long  time,  the 
only  author  who  treated  of  this  branch1  of  learning;  and 
briefly  as  he  has  touched  upon  it,  he  has  not  omitted  to  make 
some  mention  of  the  remedial  treatment  of  cattle.  After  him, 
another  illustrious  personage,  C.  Valgius,2  a  man  distinguished 
for  his  erudition,  commenced  a  treatise  upon  the  same  subject, 
which  he  dedicated  to  the  late  Emperor  Augustus,  but  left 
unfinished.  At  the  beginning  of  his  preface,  replete  as  it  is 
with  a  spirit  df  piety,3  he  expresses  a  hope  that  the  majestic 
sway  of  that  prince  may  ever  prove  a  most  efficient  remedy 
for  all  the  evils  to  which  mankind  are  exposed. 


The  only4  person  among  us,  at  least  so  far  as  I  have  been  able 
to  ascertain,  who  had  treated  of  this  subject  before  the  time  of 
Yalgius,  was  Pompeius  Lenseus,5  the  freedman  of  Pompeius 
Magnus;  and  it  was  in  his  day,  I  find,  that  this  branch  of 
knowledge  first  began  to  be  cultivated  among  us.  Mithridates, 
the  most  powerful  monarch  of  that  period,  and  who  was  finally 
conquered  by  Pompeius,  is  generally  thought  to  have  been  a 

1  As  Fee  remarks,  it  is  more  as  a  writer  upon  Agriculture  than  upon 
Materia  Medica,  that  Cato  is  entitled  to  the  thanks  of  posterity. 

2  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

3  His  piety,  apparently,  was  tainted  with  adulation. 

4  With  the  exception  of  Cato,  of  course. 

5  See  end  of  B.  xiv. 


more  zealous  promoter  of  discoveries  for  the  benefit  of  mankind, 
than  any  of  his  predecessors — a  fact  evinced  not  only  by  many 
positive  proofs,  but  by  universal  report  as  well.  It  was  he 
who  first  thought,  the  proper  precautions  being  duly  taken,  of 
drinking  poison  every  day  ;  it  being  his  object,  by  becoming 
habituated  to  it,  to  neutralize  its  daugerous  effects.  This 
prince  was  the  first  discoverer  too  of  the  various  kinds  of  anti- 
dotes, one 6  of  which,  indeed,  still  retains  his  name ;  and  it  is 
generally  supposed  that  he  was  the  first  to  employ  the  blood 
of  the  ducks  of  Pontus  as  an  ingredient  in  antidotes,  from  the 
circumstance  that  they  derive  their  nutriment  from  poisons.7 

It  was  to  Mithridates  that  Asclepiades,8  that  celebrated 
physician,  dedicated  his  works,  still  extant,  and  sent  them,  as  a 
substitute  for  his  own  personal  attendance,  when  requested  by 
that  monarch  to  leave  Rome  and  reside  at  his  court.  It  is  a 
well-known  fact,  that  this  prince  was  the  only  person  that  was 
ever  able  to  converse  in  so  many  as  two-and-twenty  languages, 
and  that,  during  the  whole  fifty-six  years  of  his  reign,  he  never 
required  the  services  of  an  interpreter  when  conversing  with 
any  individuals  of  the  numerous  nations  that  were  subject  to 
his  sway. 

Among  the  other  gifts  of  extraordinary  genius  with  which 
he  was  endowed,  Mithridates  displayed  a  peculiar  fondness  for 
enquiries  into  the  medical  art  j  and  gathering  items  of  informa- 
tion from  all  his  subjects,  extended,  as  they  were,  over  a  large 
proportion  of  the  world,  it  was  his  hubit  to  make  copies 
of  their  communications,  and  to  take  notes  of  the  results  which 
upon  experiment  had  been  produced.  These  memoranda,  which 
he  kept  in  his  private  cabinet,9  fell  into  the  hands  of  Pompeius, 
when  he  took  possession  of  the  royal  treasures  ;  who  at  once 
commissioned  his  freedman,  Lenaeus  the  grammarian,  to  trans- 
late them  into  the  Latin  language  :  the  result  of  which  was, 
that  his  victory  was  equally  conducive  to  the  benefit  of  the 
republic  and  of  mankind  at  large. 

6  See  c.  79  of  this  Book :  also  B.  xxiii.  c.  77,  and  B.  xxix.  c.  8. 

7  A  mere  prejudice,  arising  from  the  fact  that  numerous  poisonous  plants 
grew  in  the  countries  on  the  shores  of  the  Euxine.      The  blood  of  no 
animal  whatever  is  an  antidote  to  any  poison, 

8  See  B.  vii.  c.  37.     An  interesting  account  of  his  system  will  be  found 
in  B.  xxvi.  c.  7.     See  also  B.  xxix.  c.  o. 

9  See  B.  xxiii.  c.  77. 

80  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXY. 



In  addition  to  these,  there  are  some  Greek  writers  who 
have  treated  of  this  subject,  and  who  have  been  already  men- 
tioned on  the  appropriate  occasions.  Among  them,  Crateuas, 
Dionysius,  and  Hetrodorus,  adopted  a  very  attractive  method 
of  description,  though  one  which  has  done  little  more  than 
prove  the  remarkable  difficulties  which  attended  it.  It  was 
their  plan  to  delineate  the  various  plants  in  colours,  and  then 
to  add  in  writing  a  description  of  the  properties  which  they 
possessed.  Pictures,  however,  are  very  apt  to  mislead,  and 
more  particularly  where  such  a  number  of  tints  is  required, 
for  the  imitation  of  nature  with  any  success ;  in  addition  to 
which,  the  diversity  of  copyists  from  the  original  paintings, 
and  their  comparative  degrees  of  skill,  add  very  considerably 
to  the  chances  of  losing  the  necessary  degree  of  resemblance 
to  the  originals.  And  then,  besides,  it  is  not  sufficient  to  de- 
lineate a  plant  as  it  appears  at  one  period  only,  as  it  presents 
a  different  appearance  at  each  of  the  four  seasons  of  the  year.10 


Hence  it  is  that  other  writers  have  confined  themselves  to 
a  verbal  description  of  the  plants ;  indeed  some  of  them  have 
not  so  much  as  described  them  even,  but  have  contented  them- 
selves for  the  most  part  with  a  bare  recital  of  their  names, 
considering  it  sufficient  if  they  pointed  out  their  virtues  and 
properties  to  such  as  might  feel  inclined  to  make  further  en- 
quiries into  the  subject.  Nor  is  this  a  kind  of  knowledge 
by  any  means  difficult  to '  obtain ;  at  all  events,  so  far  as  re- 
gards myself,  with  the  exception  of  a  very  few,  it  has  been 
my  good  fortune  to  examine  them  all,  aided  by  the  scientific 
researches  of  Antonius  Castor,11  who  in  our  time  enjoyed  the 
highest  reputation  for  an  intimate  acquaintance  with  this 
branch  of  knowledge.  I  had  the  opportunity  of  visiting  his 
garden,  in  which,  though  he  had  passed  his  hundredth  year,  he 
cultivated  vast  numbers  of  plants  with  the  greatest  care. 
Though  he  had  reached  this  great  age,  he  had  never  experienced 

10  The  four  great  changes  in  plants,  though  not  always  at  the  four 
seasons  of  the  year,  are  the  budding  and  foliation,  the  blossoming,  the 
fructification,  and  the  fall  of  the  leaf.  n  See  end  of  B.  xx. 


any  bodily  ailment,  and  neither  his  memory  nor  his  natural 
vigour  had  been  the  least  impaired  by  the  lapse  of  time. 

There  was  nothing  more  highly  admired  than  an  intimate 
knowledge  of  plants,  in  ancient  times.  It  is  long  since  the 
means  were  discovered  of  calculating  before-hand,  not  only 
the  day  or  the  night,  but  the  very  hour  even  at  which  au 
eclipse  of  the  sun  or  moon  is  to  take  place  ;  and  yet  the  greater 
part  of  the  lower  classes  still  remain  firmly  persuaded  that 
these  phenomena  are  brought  about  by  compulsion,  through  the 
agency  of  herbs  and  enchantments,  and  that  the  knowledge  of 
this  art  is  confined  almost  exclusively  to  females.  What 
country,  in  fact,  is  not  filled  with  the  fabulous  stories  about 
Medea  of  Colchis  and  other  sorceresses,  the  Italian  Circe  in 
particular,  who  has  been  elevated  to  the  rank  of  a  divinity 
even  ?  It  is  with  reference  to  her,  I  am  of  opinion,  that 
^Eschylus,12  one  of  the  most  ancient  of  the  poets,  asserts  that 
Italy  is  covered  with  plants  endowed  with  potent  effects,  and 
that  many  writers  say  the  same  of  Circeii,13  the  pla<;e  of  her 
abode.  Another  great  proof  too  that  such  is  the  case,  is  the 
fact,  that  the  nation  of  the  Marsi,14  descendants  of  a  son  of 
Circe,  are  well  known  still  to  possess  the  art  of  taming  ser- 

Homer,  that  great  parent  of  the  learning  and  traditions  of 
antiquity,  while  extolling  the  fame  of  Circe  in  many  other 
respects,  assigns  to  Egypt  the  glory  of  having  first  discovered 
the  properties  of  plants,  and  that  too  at  a  time  when  the 
portion  of  that  country  which  is  now  watered  by  the  river 
Nilus  was  not  in  existence,  having  been  formed  at  a  more  recent 
period  by  the  alluvion15  of  that  river.  At  all  events,  he  states16 
that  numerous  Egyptian  plants  were  sent  to  the  Helena  of  his 
story,  by  the  wife  of  the  king  of  that  country,  together  with 
the  celebrated  nepenthes,17  which  ensured  oblivion  of  all 
sorrows  and  forgetfulness  of  the  past,  a  potion  which  Helena 
was  to  administer  to  all  mortals.  The  first  person,  however, 
of  whom  the  remembrance  has  come  down  to  us,  as  having 

12  There  is  little  doubt  that  he  alludes  to  the  passage  of  jEschylus, 
quoted  by  Theophrastus,  Hist.  Plant.  B.  ix.  c.  15.      Tvpprjvwv  -ytviav 
QapfiaicoTroibv  iQvoQ — "  The  race  of  the  Tyrrheni,  a  drug-preparing  nation.'* 

13  See  B.  ii.  c.  87,  B.  iii,  c.  9,  B.  xv.  c.  36,  and  B.  xxxii.  c.  21. 

14  See  B.  vii.  c.  2.  ]5  See  B.  ii.  c.  87. 
16  Od.  iv.  228,  et  seq.                           17  See  B.  xxi.  c,  91. 

VOL.   V.  8 

82  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXV. 

treated  with  any  degree  of  exactness  on  the  subject  of  plants, 
is  Orpheus ;  and  next  to  him  Musaeus  and  Hesiod,  of  whose 
admiration  of  the  plant  called  polium  we  have  already  made 
some  mention  on  previous  occasions.18  Orpheus  and  Hesiod 
too  we  find  speaking  in  high  terms  of  the  efficacy  of  fumiga- 
tions. Homer  also  speaks  of  several  other  plants  by  name,  of 
which  we  shall  have  occasion  to  make  further  mention  in  their 
appropriate  places. 

In  later  times  again,  Pythagoras,  that  celebrated  philosopher, 
was  the  first  to  write  a  treatise  on  the  properties  of  plants,  a 
work  in  which  he  attributes  the  origin  and  discovery  of  them 
to  Apollo,  ^Esculapius,  and  the  immortal  gods  in  general. 
Demoeritus  too,  composed  a  similar  work.  Both  of  these  philo- 
sophers had  visited  the  magicians  of  Persia,  Arabia,  ^Ethiopia, 
and  Egypt,  and  so  astounded  were  the  ancients  at  their  recitals, 
as  to  learn  to  make  assertions  which  transcend  all  belief. 
Xanthus,  the  author  of  some  historical  works,  tells  us,  in  the 
first  of  them,  that  a  young  dragon19  was  restored  to  life  by  its 
parent  through  the  agency  of  a  plant  to  which  he  gives  the 
name  of  "  ballis,"  and  that  one  Tylon,  who  had  been  killed  by 
a  dragon,  was  restored  to  life  and  health  by  similar  means. 
Juba  too  assures  us  that  in  Arabia  a  man  was  resuscitated  by 
the  agency  of  a  certain  plant.  Demoeritus  has  asserted — and 
Theophrastus  believes  it — that  there  is  a  certain  herb  in 
existence,  which,  upon  being  carried  thither  by  a  bird,  the  name 
of  which  we  have  already20  given,  has  the  effect,  by  the  contact 
solely,  of  instantaneously  drawing  a  wedge  from  a  tree,  when 
driven  home  by  the  shepherds  into  the  wood. 

These  marvels,  incredible  as  they  are,  excite  our  admiration 
nevertheless,  and  extort  from  us  the  admission  that,  making 
all  due  allowance,  there  is  much  in  them  that  is  based  on 
truth.  Hence  it  is  too  that  I  find  it  the  opinion  of  most 
writers,  that  there  is  nothing  which  cannot  be  effected  by  the 
agency  of  plants,  but  that  the  properties  of  by  far  the  greater 
part  of  them  remain  as  yet  unknown.  In  the  number  of 
these  was  Herophilus,  a  celebrated  physician,  a  saying  of  whose 
is  reported,  to  the  effect  that  some  plants  may  possibly  exercise 
a  beneficial  influence,  if  only  trodden  under  foot.  Be  this  as 
it  may,  it  has  been  remarked  more  than  once,  that  wounds  and 

18  See  B.  xxi.  cc.  21,  84.  19  Or  serpent. 

20  In  B.  x.  c.  20. 

Chap.  6.]  MEDICINAL   PLANTS.  83 

maladies  are  sometimes  inflamed21  upon  the  sudden  approach  of 
persons  who  have  been  journeying  on  foot. 

CHAP.  6. WHY   A    FEW    OF    THE    PLANTS    ONLY    HAVE    BEEN    USED 


Such  was  the  state  of  medical  knowledge  in  ancient  times, 
wholly  concealed  as  it  was  in  the  language  of  the  Greeks.  But 
the  main  reason  why  the  medicinal  properties  of  most  plants 
remain  still  unknown,  is  the  fact  that  they  have  been  tested 
solely  by  rustics  and  illiterate  people,  such  being  the  only  class 
of  persons  that  live  in  the  midst  of  them :  in  addition  to 
which,  so  vast  is  the  multitude  of  medical  men  always  at  hand, 
that  the  public  are  careless  of  making  any  enquiries  about 
them.  Indeed,  many  of  those  plants,  the  medicinal  properties 
of  which  have  been  discovered,  are  still  destitute  of  names — 
such,  for  instance,  as  the  one  which  we  mentioned'22  when  speak- 
ing of  the  cultivation  of  grain,  and  which  we  know  for  certain 
will  have  the  effect  of  keeping  birds  away  from  the  crops,  if 
buried  at  the  four  corners  of  the  field. 

But  the  most  disgraceful  cause  of  all,  why  so  few  simples 
are  known,  is  the  fact  that  those  even  who  are  acquainted 
with  them  are  unwilling  to  impart  their  knowledge ;  as  though, 
forsooth,  they  should  lose  for  ever  anything  that  they  might 
think  fit  to  communicate  to  others  !  Added  to  all  this,  there  is 
no  well- ascertained  method  to  guide  us  to  the  acquisition  of  this 
kind  of  knowledge ;  for,  as  to  the  discoveries  that  have  been 
made  already,  they  have  been  due,  some  of  them,  to  mere 
accident,  and  others  again,  to  say  the  truth,  to  the  interposition 
of  the  Deity. 

Down  to  our  own  times,  the  bite  of  the  mad  dog,  the  symp- 
toms of  which  are  a  dread  of  water  and  an  aversion  to  every 
kind  of  beverage,  was  incurable  ;23  and  it  was  only  recently  that 

21  Most  probably  by  the  agency  of  "  feverish  expectation  "  on  the 
part  of  the  patient.  22  In  B.  xviii.  c.  45. 

23  As  Fee  remarks,  this  dreadful  malady  is  still  incurable,  notwithstand- 
ing the  eulogiums  which  have  been  lavished  upon  the  virtues  of  the  Scu- 
tellaria  laterifolia  of  Linnaeus,  the  Alisma  pJantago,  Genista  tinctoria,  and 
other  plants,  as  specifics  for  its  cure. 



the  mother  of  a  soldier  who  was  serving  in  the  praetorian  guard, 
received  a  warning  in  a  dream,  to  send  her  son  the  root  of 
the  wild  rose,  known  as  the  cynorrhodos,24  a  plant  the  beauty 
of  which  had  attracted  her  attention  in  a  shrubbery  the 
day  before,  and  to  request  him  to  drink  the  extract  of  it.  The 
army  was  then  serving  in  Lacetania,  the  part  of  Spain  which 
lies  nearest  to  Italy ;  and  it  so  happened  that  the  soldier, 
having  been  bitten  by  a  dog,  was  just  beginning  to  manifest  a 
horror  of  water  when  his  mother's  letter  reached  him,  in 
which  she  entreated  him  to  obey  the  words  of  this  divine 
warning.  He  accordingly  complied  with  her  request,  and, 
against  all  hope  or  expectation,  his  life  was  saved ;  a  result25 
which  has  been  experienced  by  all  who  have  since  availed  them- 
selves of  the  same  resource.  Before  this,  the  cynorrhodos  had 
been  only  recommended  by  writers  for  one  medicinal  purpose ; 
the  spongy  excrescences,  they  say,  which  grow26  in  the  midst  of 
its  thorns,  reduced  to  ashes  and  mixed  with  honey,  will  make  the 
hair  grow  again  when  it  has  been  lost  by  alopecy .  I  know  too, 
for  a  fact,  that  in  the  same  province  there  was  lately  discovered 
in  the  land  belonging  to  a  person  with  whom  I  was  staying,  a 
stalked  plant,  the  name  given  to  which  was  dracunculus.27  This 
plant,  about  an  inch  in  thickness,  and  spotted  with  various 
colours,  like  a  viper's  skin,  was  generally  reported  to  be  an 
effectual  preservative  against  the  sting  of  all  kinds  of  serpents. 
I  should  remark,  however,  that  it  is  a  different  plant  from  the 
one  of  the  same  name  of  which  mention  has  been  made  in  the 
preceding  Book,28  having  altogether  another  shape  and  appear- 
ance. There  is  also  another  marvellous  property  belonging  to 
it :  in  spring,  when  the  serpents  begin  to  cast  their  slough,  it 
shoots  up  from  the  ground  to  the  height  of  about  a  couple  of 
feet,  and  again,  when  they  retire  for  the  winter  it  conceals 
itself  within  the  earth,  nor  is  there  a  serpent  to  be  seen  so  long 
as  it  remains  out  of  sight.  Even  if  this  plant  did  nothing 
else  but  warn  us  of  impending  danger,  and  tell  us  when  to 
be  on  our  guard,  it  could  not  be  looked  upon  otherwise  than 
as  a  beneficent  provision  made  by  Nature  in  our  behalves. 

24  Dog-rose,  or  eglantine.     See  B.  via.  c.  63. 

25  An  unwarranted  assertion,  no  doubt. 

26  He  alludes  to  a  substance  known  to  us  as    "  bedeguar,"    a  kind  of 
gall-nut,  produced  by  the  insect  called  Cynips  rosae. 

27  Or  "  little  dragon."     The  Arum  dracunculus  of  Linnaeus.     See  B. 
xxiy.   cc.  91,  93.  28  jn  c.  93. 

Chap.  6.]  THE    BlilTANNICA.  85 

(3.)  It  is  not,  however,  the  animals  only  that  are  endowed 
with  certain  baneful  and  noxious  properties,  but,  sometimes, 
waters29  even,  and  localities  as  well.  Upon  one  occasion,  in  his 
German  campaign,  Germanicus  Caesar  had  pitched  his  camp 
beyond  the  river  Ehenus  ;  the  only  fresh  water  to  be  obtained 
being  that  of  a  single  spring  in  the  vicinity  of  the  sea-shore. 
It  was  found,  however,  that  within  two  years  the  habitual  use 
of  this  water  was  productive  of  loss  of  the  teeth  and  a  total 
relaxation  of  the  joints  of  the  knees :  the  names  given  to 
these  maladies,  by  medical  men,  were  "  stomacace"30  and 
"  sceloturbe."  A  remedy  for  them  was  discovered,  however, 
in  the  plant  known  as  the  "  britannica,"31  which  is  good,  not 
only  for  diseases  of  the  sinews  and  mouth,  but  for  quinzy32  also, 
and  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents.  This  plant  has  dark  oblong 
leaves  and  a  swarthy  root :  the  name  given  to  the  flower  of  it 
is  "  vibones,"33  and  if  it  is  gathered  and  eaten  before  thunder 
has  been  heard,  it  will  ensure  safety  in  every  respect.  The 
Frisii,  a  nation  then  on  terms  of  friendship  with  us,  and  within 
whose  territories  the  Roman  army  was  encamped,  pointed  out 
this  plant  to  our  soldiers :  the  name34  given  to  it,  however, 

29  As  Fee  remarks,  the  influence  of  water  impregnated  with  selenite 
upon  the  health  is  well  known. 

30  Fee  says  that  this  disease  was  an  "  intense  gastritis,  productive  of  a 
fetid  breath."     It  would  seem,  however,  to  be  neither  more  nor  less  than 
the  malady  now  known  as  "  scurvy  of  the  gums."      Galen  describes  the 
"sceloturbe,"   as  a  kind  of  paralysis.     "Stomacace"  means  "  disease  of 
the  mouth ;"  "  sceloturbe  "  **  disease  of  the  legs." 

31  Sprengel  and  Desfontaines  identify  it  with  the  Runiex  aquaticus,  but 
Fee  considers  it  to  be  the  Inula  Britannica  of  Linnaeus.      The  Statice 
armeria,  Statice  plantaginea,  and  Polygonum  persicaria  have  also  been 

32  The  pseudo-Apuleius,  in  B.  xxix.  t.  7,  says,  that  if  gathered  before 
thunder  has  been  heard,  it  will  be  a  preservative  against  quinzy  for  a  whole 

33  The  flower  of  the  Inula  Britannica,  Fee  says,  is  much  more  likely, 
from  its  peculiarities,  to  have  merited  a  peculiar  name,  than  that  of  the 

34  Lipsius,  in  his  Commentaries  upon  Tacitus,  Ann.  i.   63,  has  very 
satisfactorily  shown  that  it  did  not  derive  its  name  from  the  islands  of 
Britain,  but  from  a  local  appellation,  the  name  given  by  the  natives  to  the 
marshy  tracts  upon  the  banks  of  the  Ems,  between  Lingen  and  Covoerden, 
which  are  still  known  as  the  "  Bretaasche  Heyde."     Munting  and  Poiii- 
sinet  de  Sivry  suggest  that  it  may  have  received  its  name  from  being  used 
as  a  strengthener  of  the  teeth  in  their  sockets,  being  compounded  of  the 
words  tann,   "  tooth,"  and  brita,  "  to  break." 

surprises  nu 
^-auod  Nvaiise  tho  s> 
Ml}  soparaiod  by  th 
by  Uus  namo  from  t 
a'imnda.iuv.  that  is  (|' 
oi.  Urilaunia  N\as  s:: 

7. — WHAT  JftSU 

N  V\:KS  oy  VJ-USONS 

that  has  boon  dono 
oov'asion  to  snow  :-v 

Uiado   tho  dlSOOYOrY 

it  is  far  from  imj 

look  upon  thoso  ivs 
f;;l  to  a  Mfo  of  oas, 

SnH.  ho\vovoi\  i 
place  thoso  plar.:s 

in  tho  \u  mitv,  and 

Ht&tD  "un  rur  o,uvuTsrruN. 

v;soo\i  ur-  vvvoi  s  n  VMS. 

ort  of  ambition,  as  it  wt^iv.  of 

pon  them  one's  name,  a  thins? 

a  thing  did  it  appear  to  have 

,t.  thus  far  to  ha\o  i-ontri- 

At  tho  pivsont  day.  ho\vo\or, 

;'\  i\'   !r..-.\    bo    sor.\o  NN  ;:o    \\  ill 

plojred:  in  taking  a  reyiew  of  which one< 
than  bewail  the  unhappy  lot  of  mankind 

»T*TJ  bo:;v  is  bnn-;:^  wi:h   il.  to  thousand 

menace  the  existence  of  each  mortal  bein 
almost  an  act  of  folly  to  attempt  to  detormi 
diseases  is  attended  with  the  most  excmc 

ftyat  ox  cry  ono  is  of  opinion  that  tho  mal 
the  moment  he  himself  is  afflicted,  is  the 
and  insupportable.  The  general  e*perien< 

pivson!  a^o  lias  oomo  to  tho  oonolnsion,  that 

calculiin  the  bladder ;  next  to  them,  those 
of  the  stomach  5  and  in  the  IV 

pains  and  art'ovtions  of  tho  hoad  ;  for  it  is 

V    .»»V     Vt» I 


Ami  thcartfore 

thw  Book. 


o   castffl,   wo  find,  it  patient-. 

rwu    p'-nt,  I  am    r.urprr-ed    that  the  Or<  • 
'   gono  HO  f  lantt 

V:    Under 

I  do  not  m<  -:jrj    th'  -,   plants   merely  ;   for  such  is  OUT 

ri  of  lib;  that  death 

of  men.     \V<  use  of  a  somewhat 

peaks  of  S  .odius,Ma 

memher  of  tne  !•/]',<  illy  tormented  £out,  that  he  had  )  :i  poisons, 


the  /  that  frofl  tha* 

fion,  orjii.'ijjy  with  all  pain,  | 

}>'>dy.      J*iit  wliat  oxou'-.'     ! 

world  ,'irf|uai.']t<:<J  v,  it.h    ,  :  Jy  roj-ult  of  t; 

\vliif:}j  in.   to  r](:r;jn^o  tli'-  '.  to  pro'K 

<;r  effects  eq  ua!  So  far  as  I  am 

<:on<;.'-rnf.-<J,    I    nliall    (Jr:  '  l}jf;r    abortives   nor  pliiltres, 

.n#  in  mind,  an  I  do,  that  Jjjr;ullu«,  that  most  celebrated 
nil,  dif-d  of  th<  of  a  philtre.*    Nor  shall  I  speak 

of    othor    ill-oirjMif-d    d':vif:';s    of  rna^io,  unlo«H  it  he  to  give 

warning  a^ain-:t  th<-m,  or  to  BXpQf6  thorn,  for  I  most  emphati- 

rally  oondornn  all  faith  and  h^liof  in  t;  8  for 

rri(:,  and  I  shall  havr:  abundantly  dono  my  duty,  if  J  point  out 
';  }>!ants  which  WTO  made  for  tho  bo-riofit  of  manJ 

tho  propr-rtios  of  whioh   I  rod  in  th'.  I 


MIAP.  8.    (4.)  —  MOI.V  :    'J  n  HEE  KEMKDIES. 

According  to  Horn'  r/*'1  the   mo-t  r:el<:hr;. 
that,  which,  according  to  him,  is  known  as  moly41  a: 

•;f:  tho  ca«e  of  M.  ACTippa,  rm  .-ritjon^l  in  1i.  xxiii.  c.  27. 

-''  Said,  by  Plutarch,  to  haw:  b«:<-n  a<JrniniKU-rcd  to  him  by  hi«  freedman 
Callisthonos,  with  the  view  of  securing  his  affection. 

<"  Od.  x.  1.  -W2,  ^*<-y. 

41   F('o  rlrjvotfcs  a  couj)N:  of  pajres  to  thet?«af«/'r/y>"' 

of   thiH  plant,   and  CO!  <Hiori    that   tho   Moly   of    JJorri'-r, 

ni<;ntiori<:d  on  the  pr':K«:nl  occa.-.ion,    stn'1   of  Theophrahtus,    Ovid,   and  the 
.  |  only  an  imaginary  plant  ;  that  t.hc  whiUi-flowered  Moly 
of   b:  1  OaJen  is  identical  with  the  AJliurn   Jjioscoridig  of 

thorpo;  and  that  the  yellow-flowered  Moly  of  the  author  of  the  Priapeia 
is  not  improbably  the  Allium  Moly  or  magicum  of  Linnseiw.     Sprengel 


gods.  The  discovery  of  it  he  attributes  to  Mercury,  who  was 
also  the  first  to  point  out  its  uses  as  neutralizing  the  most 
potent  spells  of  sorcery.  At  the  present  day,  it  is  said,  it 
grows  in  the  vicinity  of  Lake  Pheneus,  and  in  Cyllene,  a  dis- 
trict of  Arcadia.  It  answers  the  description  given  of  it  by 
Homer,  having  a  round  black  root,  about  as  large  as  an  onion, 
and  a  leaf  like  that  of  the  squill :  there  is  no42  difficulty  ex- 
perienced in  taking  it  up.  The  Greek  writers  have  deline- 
ated43 it  as  having  a  yellow  flower,  while  Homer,44  on  the 
other  hand,  has  spoken  of  it  as  white.  I  once  met  with  a 
physician,  a  person  extremely  well  acquainted  with  plants, 
who  assured  me  that  it  is  found  growing  in  Italy  as  well,  and 
that  he  would  send  me  in  a  few  days  a  specimen  which  had 
been  dug  up  in  Campania,  with  the  greatest  difficulty,  from  a 
rocky  soil.  The  root  of  it  was  thirty45  feet  in  length,  and  even 
then  it  was  not  entire,  having  been  broken  in  the  getting  up. 


The  plant  next  in  esteem  to  moly,  is  that  called  dodeca- 
theos,46  it  being  looked  upon  as  under  the  especial  tute- 
lage of  all  the  superior  gods.47  Taken  in  water,  it  is  a  cure, 
they  say,  for  maladies  of  every  kind.  The  leaves  of  it,  seven 
in  number,  and  very  similar  to  those  of  the  lettuce,  spring 
from  a  yellow  root. 



The  plant  known  as  "paBonia"48  is  the  most  ancient  of  them 
all.  It  still  retains  the  name49  of  him  who  was  the  first  to 

derives  the  name  "Moly"  from  the  Arabic,  and  identifies  it  with  the 
Allium  nigram  of  Linnseus. 

42  Homer  says  that  there  is  difficulty  to  men,  but  not  to  the  gods. 

43  In  their  pictures,  mentioned  in  c.  4- 

44  Ovid,  Galen,  and  Theophrastus,  say  the  same. 

45  There  must  either  be  some  error  in  the  reading  here,  or  the  physician 
must  have  attempted  to  impose  upon  our  author's  credulity. 

46  Or  "the  twelve  gods." 

47  Generally  identified  with  the  Primula  vulgaris  or  officinalis  of  Lin- 
naeus.    Its  leaves,  however,  are  of  varying  number,  and  not  like  those  of 
the  lettuce.     The  Dodecatheos  Meadia,  or  Virginian  cowslip,  it  must  be 
remembered,  is  an  American  plant. 

4S  The  Pseonia  officinalis  of  Linnseus,  our  Peony. 
49  Paeon,  the  physician,  mentioned  in  the  Iliad,  B.  v.  1.  401,  as  healing 
Pluto,  when  wounded  by  Hercules. 

Chap.  11.]  THE   PANACES   ASCLEPIOtf.  89 

discover  it,  being  known  also  as  the  "  pentorobus"50  by  some, 
and  the  "  glycyside"51  by  others;  indeed,  this  is  one  of  the  great 
difficulties  attendant  on  forming  an  accurate  knowledge  of 
plants,  that  the  same  object  has  different  names  in  different 
districts.  It  grows  in  umbrageous  mountain  localities,  and  puts 
forth  a  stem  amid  the  leaves,  some  four  fingers  in  height,  at  the 
summit  of  which  are  four  or  five  heads  resembling  Greek 
nuts52  in  appearance  ;  enclosed  in  which,  ^there  is  a  considerable 
quantity  of  seed  of  a  red  or  black  colour.  This  plant  is  a 
preservative  against  the  illusions63  practised  by  the  Fauni  in 
sleep.  It  is  generally  recommended  to  take  it  up  at  night ; 
for  if  the  wood-pecker^  of  Mars  should  perceive  a  person  doing 
so,  it  will  immediately  attack  his  eyes  in  defence  of  the  plant. 


Thepanaces,  by  its  very  name,55  gives  assurance  of  a  remedy  for 
all  diseases:  there  are  numerous  kinds  of  it,  and  the  discovery 
of  its  properties  has  been  attributed  to  the  gods.  One  of  these 
kinds  is  known  by  the  additional  name  of  "  asclepion,"56  in 
commemoration  of  the  circumstance  that  JEsculapius  gave  the 
name  of  Panacia57  to  his  daughter.  The  juice  of  it,  as  we  have 
had  occasion  to  remark  already,58  coagulates  like  that  of 
fennel- giant;  the  root  is  covered  with  a  thick  rind  of  a  salt 

After  this  plant  has  been  taken  up,  it  is  a  point  religiously 
observed  to  fill  the  hole  with  various  kinds  of  grain,  a  sort  of 
expiation,  as  it  were,  to  the  earth.  We  have  already59  stated, 
when  speaking  of  the  exotic  productions,  where  and  in  what 
manner  this  juice  is  prepared,  and  what  kind  is  the  most 
esteemed.  That  which  is  imported  from  Macedonia  is  known 
as  "  bucolicon,"  from  the  fact  that  the  neatherds  there  are 
in  the  habit  of  collecting  it  as  it  spontaneously  exudes :  it 
evaporates,  however,  with  the  greatest  rapidity.  As  to  the 

50  From  \\sfive  seeds,  which  resemble  Jitehes. 

51  "'Sweet  to  the  view,"   apparently. 

52  See  B.  xxiii.  c.  76.  53  He  means  nightmare. 

54  See  B.  x.  cc.  18,  20,  and  B.  xxvii.  c.  60. 

55  The  Greek  for  "all-healing." 

68  Probably  the  Laserpitium  hirsutum  of  Lamarck.      The  Echinophora 
tenuifolia  of  Linnaeus,  the  thin-leaved  prickly  parsnip,  has  also  been  named. 
«  Or  "All-heal."  3«  In  B.  xii.  c.  57. 

89  In  B.  xii.  c.  57. 

90  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXV. 

other  kinds,  that  more  particularly  is  held  in  disesteem  which 
is  "black  and  soft,  such  being  a  proof,  in  fact,  that  it  has  been 
adulterated  with  wax. 


A  second  kind  of  panaces  is  known  by  the  name  of  "  hera- 
cleon,"60  from  the  fact  that  it  was  first  discovered  by  Hercules. 
Some  persons,  however,  call  it  "  Heracleotic  origanum,"  or 
wild  origanum,  from  its  strong  resemblance  to  the  origanum 
of  which  we  have  already61  spoken :  the  root  of  it  is  good  ibr 


A  third  kind  of  panaces  is  surnamed  "  chironion,"  from 
him62  who  first  discovered  it.  The  leaf  is  similar  to  that  of 
lapathum,  except  that  it  is  larger  and  more  hairy  ;  the  flower 
is  of  a  golden  colour,  and  the  root  diminutive.  It  grows  in  rich, 
unctuous  soils.  The  flower  of  this  plant  is  extremely  effi- 
cacious ;  hence  it  is  that  it  is  more  generally  used  than  the 
kinds  previously  mentioned. 



A  fourth  kind  of  panaces,  discovered  also  by  Chiron,  is 
known  by  the  additional  name  of  "  centaurion  :"63  it  is  also 
called  "  pharnacion,"  from  King  Pharnaces,  it  being  a  matter 
in  dispute  whether  it  was  really  discovered  by  Chiron  or  by 
that  prince.  It  is  grown  from  seed,64  and  the  leaves  of  it  are 
longer  than  those  of  the  other  kinds,  and  serrated  at  the  edge. 
The  root,  which  is  odoriferous,  is  dried  in  the  shade,  and  is 
used  for  imparting  an  aroma  to  wine.  Some  writers  distin- 

60  Identified  with  the  Laserpitium  Chironium  of  Linnaeus,   otherwise 
called  Pastinaca  opopanax.     Fee  observes,  that  when  the  word  '  Panaces ' 
is  used  alone,  this  plant  is  always  the  one  meant. 

61  In  B.  xx.  ec.  62,  69. 

62  The  Centaur  Chiron ;  see  B.  vii.  c.  57.     Sprengel  identifies  this  plant 
with  the  Hypericum  origani folium  of  Willdenow,  but  Fee  is  inclined  to 
think  that  its  synonym  is  still  unknown.     M.  Fraas,  in  his  Synopsis,  p. 
139,  identifies  it  with  the  Hypericum  Olympicum,  an  odoriferous  plant, 
which  the  H.  organifoiium  is  not. 

63  The  Centaurea  centaurium  of  Linnaeus,  the  greater  centaury. 
6i  "  Seritur." 

Chap.  17.]  IITOSCYAMOS.  91 

guish  two  varieties  of  this  plant- — the  one  with  a  smooth  leaf, 
the  other  of  a  more  delicate  form. 


The  heracleon  siderion65  is  also  another  discovery  of  Her- 
cules. The  stem  is  thin,  about  four  fingers  in  length,  the 
flower  red,  and  the  leaves  like  those  of  coriander.  It  is  found 
growing  in  the  vicinity  of  lakes  and  rivers,  and  is  extremely 
efficacious  for  the  cure  of  all  wounds  made  by  iron.66 


The  ampelos  Chironia67  also,  which  we  have  already63  men- 
tioned when  speaking  of  the  vines,  is  a  discovery  due  to 
Chiron.  We  have  spoken  too,  on  a  previous  occasion,69  of  a 
plant,  the  discovery  of  which  is  attributed  to  Minerva. 



To  Hercules  also  is  attributed  the  discovery  of  the  plant 
known  as  the  "  apollinaris,"  and,  among  the  Arabians,  as  the 
"altercum"  or  "  altercaugenum  :"  by  the  Greeks  it  is  called 
"  hyoscyamos."70  There  are  several  varieties  of  it;  one  of 
them,71  with  a  black  seed,  flowers  bordering  on  purple,  and  a 
prickly  stem,  growing  in  Galatia.  The  common  kind73  again, 
is  whiter,  more  shrublike,  and  taller  than  the  poppy.  Tho 
seed  of  a  third  variety  is  similar  to  that  of  irio73  in  appearance ; 
but  they  have,  all  of  them,  the  effect  of  producing  vertigo  and 
insanity.  A  fourth74  kind  again  is  soft,  lanuginous,  and  more 
unctuous  than  the  others ;  the  seed  of  it  is  white,  and  it  grows 
in  maritime  localities.  It  is  this  kind  that  medical  men 

65  Hardouin  identifies  it  with  the  Geranium  Robertianum  of  Linnseus ; 
Sprengel  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Phellandriura  mutellina  of  Linnaeus; 
Colunma  with  the  Sanicula ;  Sibthorpe  with  the  Scrofularia  lucida ;  and 
M.  Fraas  with  the  Scrofula  chrysanthemifolia  of  Linnaeus.     Fee  expresses 
himself  unable  to  speak  with  any  certainty  on  the  subject. 

66  Whence  its  name  "  sidereon."  67  Or  *'  Chironian  vine." 
68  In  B.  xxiii.  c.  17.  69  In  B.  xxii.  c.  20. 

70  "  Swine's  bean  " — our  henbane. 

71  The  Hyoscyamus  reticulatus  of  Linnaeus,  reticulated  henbane. 

72  The  Hyoscyamus  niger  of  Linnaeus,  black  henbane. 

73  See  B.  xviii.  c.  22,  and  B.  xxii.  c.  75.      The  Hyoscyamus  aureus  of 
Linnams,  golden  henbane. 

74  The  Hyoscyamus  albus  of  Linnaeus,  white  henbane. 


employ,  as  also  that  with,  a  red  seed.75  Sometimes,  however, 
the  white  seed  turns  of  a  reddish  colour,  if  not  sufficiently 
ripe  when  gathered  ;  in  which  case  it  is  rejected  as  unfit  for 
use  :  indeed,  none  of  these  plants  are  gathered  until  they  are 
perfectly  dry.  Hyoscyamos,  like  wine,  has  the  property  of 
flying  to  the  head,  and  consequently  of  acting  inj  uriously  upon 
the  mental  faculties. 

The  seed  is  either  used  in  its  natural  state,  or  else  the  juice 
of  it  is  extracted :  the  juice  also  of  the  stem  and  leaves  is 
sometimes  extracted,  separately  from  the  seed.  The  root  is 
sometimes  made  use  of;  but  the  emploj'ment  of  this  plant  in 
any  way  for  medical  purposes  is,  in  my  opinion,  highly  dan- 
gerous. For  it  is  a  fact  well  ascertained,  that  the  leaves  even 
will  exercise  a  deleterious  effect  upon  the  mind,  if  more  than 
four  are  taken  at  a  time ;  though  the  ancients  were  of  opinion 
that  the  leaves  act  as  a  febrifuge,  taken  in  wine.  From  the 
seed,  as  already76  stated,  an  oil  is  extracted,  which,  injected 
into  the  ears,  deranges  the  intellect.  It  is  a  singular  thing, 
bat  we  find  remedies  mentioned  for  those  who  have  taken 
this  juice,  as  though  for  a  poison,  while  at  the  same  time  we 
find  it  prescribed  as  a  potion  among  the  various  remedies. 
In  this  way  it  is  that  experiments  are  multiplied  without  end, 
even  to  forcing  the  very  poisons  themselves  to  act  as  an- 



Linozostis77  or  parthenion  is  a  discovery  attributed  to  Mer- 
cury :  hence  it  is  that  among  the  Greeks  it  is  known  as 
"  hermupoa"78  by  many,  while  among  us  it  is  universally 
known  as  "  mercurialis."  There  are  two  varieties  of  this 
plant,  the  male  and  the  female,  the  last  possessing  more 
decided  properties  than  the  other,  and  having  a  stem  a  cubit  in 
height,  and  sometimes  branchy  at  the  summit,  with  leaves 
somewhat  narrower  than  those  of  ocimum.  The  joints  of  the 
stem  lie  close  together,  and  the  axils  are  numerous  :  the  seed 
hangs  downwards,  having  the  joints  for  its  basis.  In  the 

75  The  third  kind  mentioned  above. 

'6  In  B.  xv.  c.  7,  and  B.  xxiii.  c.  49.  This  cannot  have  been  a  fixed  oil. 
77  The  Mercuralis  anmia  of  Linnaeus,  male  and  female ;  the  herb  mercury. 
<8  "  Herb  of  Hermes." 

Chap.  18.]  MEIICUUIALTS.  93 

female  plant  the  seed  is  very  abundant,  but  in  the  male79  it  is 
less  so,  lies  closer  to  the  joints,  and  is  short  and  wreathed.  In 
the  female  plant  the  seed  hangs  more  loosely,  and  is  of  a  white 
colour.  The  leaves  of  the  male  plant  are  swarthy,  while 
those  of  the  female  are  whiter :  the  root,  which  is  made  no 
use  of,  is  very  diminutive. 

Both  of  these  plants  grow  in  cultivated  champaign  local- 
ities. A  marvellous  property  is  mentioned  as  belonging  to 
them :  the  male  plant,  they  say,€0  ensures  the  conception  of 
male  children,  the  female  plant  of  females ;  a  result  which  is 
ensured  by  drinking  the  juice  in  raisin  wine,  the  moment  after 
conception,  or  by  eating  the  leaves,  boiled  with  oil  and  salt, 
or  raw  with  vinegar.  Some  persons,  again,  boil  the  plant 
in  a  new  earthen  vessel  with  heliotropium  and  two  or  three 
ears  of  corn,  till  it  is  thoroughly  done;  and  say  that  the  decoc- 
tioa  should  be  taken  in  drink  by  the  female,  and  the  plant 
eaten  for  three  days  successively,  the  regimen  being  com- 
menced the  second  day  of  menstruation.  This  done,  on  the 
fourth  day  she  must  take  a  bath,  immediately  after  which  the 
sexual  congress  must  take  place. 

Hippocrates81  has  lavished  marvellous  encomiums  upon  these 
plants  for  the  maladies  of  females,  while  at  the  present  day 
no  physician  recognizes  their  utility  for  such  purpose.  It  was 
his  practice  to  employ  them  for  affections  of  the  uterus,  in  the 
form  of  a  pessary,  in  combination  with  honey,  rose-oil,  oil  of 
iris,  or  oil  of  lilies.  He  employed  them  also  as  an  emmena- 
gogue,  and  for  the  purpose  of  bringing  away  the  after-birth  ; 
effects  which  are  equally  produced,  according  to  him,  by  taking 
them  in  drink,  or  using  them  in  the  form  of  a  fomentation.  It 
was  his  practice  also,  to  inject  the  juice  of  these  plants  in  cases 
of  fetid  odours  of  the  ears,  and  then  to  wash  the  ear  with  old 
wine.  The  leaves  also  were  used  by  him  as  a  cataplasm  for 
the  abdomen,  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  strangury,  and  affections 
of  the  bladder ;  a  decoction  too,  of  the  plants  is  prescribed  by 
him,  with  frankincense  and  myrrh. 

For  the  purpose  of  relaxing82  the  bowels,  or  in  cases  of  fever, 

79  The  male,  as  Fee  suggests,  bears  no  seed  at  all. 

80  A  mere  absurdity,  of  course. 

81  De  Nat.  Mul.  and  De  Morb.  Mul.  B.  i.  and  B.  ii. 

82  The  medicinal  properties  of  the  Mercurialis  are  not  by  any  means 
energetic,  but  it  is  still  used,  Fee  says,  as  a  gentle  aperient. 


a  handful  of  this  plant  is  boiled  down  to  one  half,  in  two 
sextarii  of  water,  the  decoction  being  taken  with  salt  and 
honey  :  if  a  pig's  foot  or  a  cock  is  boiled  with  it,  it  will  be  all 
the  more  beneficial.  Some  persons  have  been  of  opinion,  that 
as  a  purgative  the  two  kinds  of  mercurialis  ought  to  be  used 
together,  or  else  that  a  decoction  should  be  made  of  the  plant 
in  combination  with  mallows.  These  plants  act  as  a  detergent 
upon  the  chest,  and  carry  off  the  bilious  secretions,  but  they  are 
apt  to  be  injurious  to  the  stomach.  We  shall  have  to  speak 
further  of  their  properties  on  the  appropriate  occasions.83 



Achilles  too,  the  pupil  of  Chiron,  discovered  a  plant  which 
heals  wounds,  and  which,  as  being  his  discovery,  is  known  as 
the  "  achilleos."  It  was  by  the  aid  of  this  plant,  they  say. 
that  he  cured  Telephus.  Other  authorities,  however,  assert  that 
he  was  the  first81  to  discover  that  verdigris85  is  an  extremely 
useful  ingredient  in  plasters  ;  and  hence  it  is  that  he  is  some- 
times represented  in  pictures  as  scraping  with  his  sword  the 
rust  from  off  a  spear86  into  the  wound  of  Telephus.  Some  again, 
are  of  opinion  that  he  made  use  of  both  remedies. 

By  some  persons  this  plant  is  called  "panaces  heracleon," 
by  others,  "  sideritis,"87  and  by  the  people  of  our  country, 
"  millefolium :  '>88  the  stalk  of  it,  they  say,  is  a  cubit  in  length, 
branchy,  and  covered  from  the  bottom  with  leaves  somewhat 
smaller  than  those  of  fennel.  Other  authorities,  however, 
while  admitting  that  this  last  plant  is  good  for  wounds,  affirm 
that  the  genuine  achilleos  has  a  bluish  stem  a  foot  in  length, 

83  B.  xxvi.  cc,  74,  76,  89, 

84  Both  stories  are  equally  improbable. 

85  See  B.  xxxiv.  c.  45. 

86  The  weapons  in  early  time,  it  must  be  remembered,  were  made  of 
copper  or  bronze. 

87  The  third  Sideritis  of  Dioscorides  is  thought  to  be  the  same  with  the 
Heracleon  siderion  of  c.  15  of  this  Book.      Pliny  evidently  confounds  the 
Achillea  and  the  Sideritis,  totally  different  plants.     The  Achillea  is  identified 
by  Fee  with  the  Achillea  tomentosa  or  abrotonifolia  of  Linnaeus.      As  to 
the  Sideritis,  see  B.  xxvi.  c.  12.      The   real  Panaces  heracleon  has  been 
mentioned  >in  c.  12  of  this  Book. 

83  Or_  •"«  Thousand  leaves,"  probably  identical  with  the  Achillea  mille- 
folium of  Linnseus,  milfoil  or  yarrow.  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  95. 

Chap.  20.]  THE   TEUCRICW.  95 

destitute  of  branches,  and  elegantly  clothed  all  over  with 
isolated  leaves  of  a  round  form.  Others  again,  maintain  that 
it  has  a  squared  stem,  that  the  heads  of  it  are  small  and  like 
those  of  horehound,89  and  that  the  leaves  are  similar  to  those 
of  the  quercus — they  say  too,  that  this  last  has  the  property  of 
uniting  the  sinews  when  cut  asunder.  Another  statement  is, 
that  the  sideritis90  is  a  plant  that  grows  on  garden  walls,  and 
that  it  emits,  when  bruised,  a  fetid  smell ;  that  there  is  also 
another  plant,  very  similar  to  it,  but  with  a  whiter  and  more 
unctuous  leaf,  a  more  delicate  stem,  and  mostly  found  growing 
in  vineyards. 

They  speak  also  of  another91  sideritis,  with  a  stem  two 
cubits  in  length,  and  diminutive  branches  of  a  triangular 
shape :  the  leaf,  they  say,  resembles  that  of  fern,  and  has  a 
long  footstalk,  the  seed  being  similar  to  that  of  beet.  All 
these  plants,  it  is  said,  are  remarkably  good  for  the  treatment 
of  wounds.  The  one  with  the  largest  leaf  is  known  among 
us  by  the  name  of  "scopae  regiae,"9*  and  is  used  for  the  cure 
of  quinzy  in  swine. 


At  the  same  period  also,  Teucer  discovered  the  teucrion,  a 
plant  known  to  some  as  the  "  hemionion."93  It  throws  out 
thin  rush-like  stems,  with  diminutive  leaves,  and  grows  in 
rugged,  uncultivated  spots  :  the  taste  of  it  is  rough,  and  it 
never  blossoms  or  produces  seed.  It  is  used  for  the  cure  of 
affections  of  the  spleen,91  and  it  is  generally  understood  that 
its  properties  were  discovered  in  the  following  manner  : — The 
entrails  of  a  victim  having  been  placed  upon  this  plant,  it 
attached  itself  to  the  milt,  and  entirely  consumed  it ; 95  a 

89  "Marrubii." 

90  "Ironwork"     The  third  Sideritis  of  Dioscorides,  above  mentioned. 
See  c.  15  of  this  Book.     See  also  B.  xxvi.  cc.  12  and  88. 

91  Identified  by  Desfontaines  with  the  Sanguisorba  officinalis  of  Linnaeus. 

92  "  lloyal  broom,"  identified  by  many  commentators  with  the  Cheno- 
podium  seoparia  of  Linnaeus. 

93  Or  "mule-plant."     It  is  identified  by  Fee  with  the  Asplenion  eete- 
rach,  or  Ceterach  officinarum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Ceterach,  a  fern,  and  a  dif- 
ferent plant  from  the  Teucrium  of  B.  xxiv.  c.  SO,  or  Germander. 

94  Hence  its  name,  "  Aspleniurn." 

95  "  Exinanisse."     A  fable,  of  course. 


property  to  which  it  is  indebted  for  the  name  of  "  splenion," 
given  to  it  by  some.  It  is  said  too,  that  swine  which  have  fed 
upon  the  root  of  this  plant  are  found  to  have  no  milt. 

Some  authors  give  this  name  also  to  a  ligneous  plant,96  with 
branches  like  those  of  hyssop,  and  a  leaf  resembling  that  of 
the  bean  ;  they  say  too,  that  it  should  be  gathered  while  in 
blossom,  from  which  we  may  conclude  that  they  entertain  no 
doubt  that  it  does  blossom.  That  which  grows  on  the  moun- 
tains of  Cilicia  and  Pisidia  is  more  particularly  praised  by  them. 



The  repute  of  Melarnpus,  as  being  highly  skilled  in  the  arts  of 
divination,  is  universally  known.  This  personage  has  given  a 
name  to  one  species  of  hellebore,  known  as  the  "  rnelampodion." 
Some  persons,  however,  attribute  the  discovery  of  this  plant 
to  a  shepherd  of  that  name,  who  remarked  that  his  she-goats 
were  violently  purged  after  browsing  upon  it,  and  afterwards 
cured  the  daughters  of  Prcetus  of  madness,  by  giving  them 
the  milk  of  these  goats.  It  will  be  the  best  plan,  therefore,  to 
take  this  opportunity  of  treating  of  the  several  varieties  of 
hellebore.  The  two  principal  kinds  are  the  white97  and  the 
black  ;98  though,  according  to  most  authorities,  this  difference 
exists  in  the  root  only.  There  are  some  authors,  however, 
who  assure  us  that  the  leaves  of  the  black  hellebore  are  similar 
to  those  of  the  plane-tree,  only  darker,  more  diminutive,  and 
more  jagged  at  the  edges  :  and  who  say,  that  the  white  hel- 
lebore has  leaves  like  those  of  beet  when  first  shooting, 
though  at  the  same  time  of  a  more  swarthy  colour,  with  reddish 
veins  on  the  under  side.  The  stem,  in  both  kinds,  is  feru- 
laceous,  a  palm"  in  height,  and  covered  with  coats  like  those 
of  the  bulbs,  the  root,  too,  being  fibrous  like  that  of  the  onion.1 

96  The  Teucrium  lucidum  of  Linnaeus :  though,  as  Fee  says,  there  is 
little  similarity  between  it  and  hyssop,  or  between  its  leaves  and  those  of 
the  bean.     See  B.  xxiv.  c.  80. 

97  Identified  by  Fe'e  with  the  Veratrum  album  and  Veratrum  nigrum  of 
Linnaeus,  species  between  which  there  is  little  difference. 

98  Identified  by  Tournefort  with  the  Helleborus  niger  of  Lamarck. 
Littre  mentions  the  Helleborus  orientalis  of  Linnaus. 

09  The  stem  of  white  hellebore  is  much  longer  than  this. 

1  This  comparison  with  the  onion,  Fee  says,  is  altogether  inexact. 

Chap.  21.]  HELLEBORE.  97 

The  black  hellebore  kills  horses,  oxen,  and  swine  ;  hence  it 
is  that  those  animals  avoid  it,  while  they  eat  the  white2  kind. 
The  proper  time,  thay  say,  for  gathering  this  last,  is  harvest. 
It  grows  upon  Mount  (Eta  in  great  abundance ;  and  the  best 
of  all  is  that  found  upon  one  spot  on  that  mountain,  in  the 
vicinity  of  Pyra.  The  black  hellebore  is  found  growing  every- 
where, but  the  best  is  that  of  Mount  Helicon ;  which  is  also 
equally  celebrated  for  the  qualities  of  its  other  plants.  The 
white  hellebore  of  Mount  (Eta  is  the  most  highly  esteemed, 
that  of  Pontus  occupying  the  second  place,  and  the  produce  of 
Elea  the  third ;  which  last,  it  is  generally  said,  grows  in  the 
vineyards  there.  The  fourth  rank  is  held  by  the,  white 
hellebore  of  Mount  Parnassus,  though  it  is  often  adulter 
with  that  of  the  neighbouring  districts  of  ^Etolia. 

Of  these  kinds  it  is  the  black  hellebore  that  is  known  as  the 
•'  melampodium :"  it  is  used  in  fumigations,  attd  for  the  purpose 
of  purifying  houses ;  cattle,  too,  are  sprinkled^with  it,  a  certain 
form  of  prayer  being  repeated.  This  last  plant,  too,  is  gathered 
with  more  numerous  ceremonies  than  the  okher :  a  circle  is 
first  traced  around  it  with  a  sword,  after  which,  the  person 
about  to  cut  it  turns  towards  the  East,  and  offers  up  a  prayer, 
entreating  permission  of  the  gods  to  do  so.  At  the  same  time 
he  observes  whether  an  eagle  is  in  sight — for  mostly  while  the 
plant  is  being  gathered  that  bird  is  near  at  hand — and  if  one 
should  chance  to  fly  close  at  hand,  it  is  looked  upon  as  a  presage 
that  he  will  die  within  the  year.  The  white  hellebore,  too,  is 
gathered  not  without  difficulty,  as  it  is  very  oppressive  to  the 
head ;  more  particularly  if  the  precaution  has  not  been  used 
of  eating  garlic  first,  and  of  drinking  wine  every  now  and 
then,  care  being  taken  to  dig  up  the  plant  as  speedily  as  possible. 

Some  persons  call  the  black  hellebore  "ectomon,"3  and 
others  "  polyrrhizon :"  it  purges4  by  stool,  while  the  white 
hellebore  acts  as  an  emetic,  and  so  carries  off  what  might  other- 
wise have  given  rise  to  disease.  In  former  days  hellebore  was 
regarded  with  horror,  but  more  recently  the  use5  of  it  has  be- 
come so  familiar,  that  numbers  of  studious  men  are  in  the 

2  If  he  would  imply  that  they  do  this  without  inconvenience,  the  state- 
ment, Fee  says,  is  incorrect. 

3  "  Cut  off,"  and  "  With  many  roots." 

4  Hellebore  is  no  longer  used,  except  in  veterinary  medicine. 

5  Petronius  Arbiter  says  that  the  philosopher  Chrysippus  used  it. 
VOL.  V.  H 


habit  of  taking  it  for  the  purpose  of  sharpening  the  intellectual 
powers  required  by  their  literary  investigations.  Carneades, 
for  instance,  made  use  of  hellebore  when  about  to  answer  the 
treatises  of  Zeno  ;  Drusus 6  too,  among  us,  the  most  famous  of 
all  the  tribunes  of  the  people,  and  whom  in  particular  the 
public,  rising  from  their  seats,  greeted  with  loud  applause — to 
whom  also  the  patricians  imputed  the  Marsic  war — is  well 
known  to  have  been  cured  of  epilepsy  in  the  island  of  Anti- 
cyra  ;6*  a  place  at  which  it  is  taken  with  more  safety  than  else- 
where, from  the  fact  of  sesamoides  being  combined  with  it,  as 
already7  stated.  In  Italy  the  name  given  to  it  is  "  veratrum." 
These  kinds  of  hellebore,  reduced  to  powder  and  taken  alone, 
or  else  in  combination  with  radicula,  a  plant  used,  as  already 
mentioned,8  for  washing  wool,  act  as  a  sternutatory,  and  are 
both  of  them  productive  of  narcotic  effects.  The  thinnest  and 
shortest  roots  are  selected,  and  among  them  the  lower  parts 
in  particular,  which  have  all  the  appearance  of  having  been 
cut  short  ;9  for,  aa  to  the  upper  part,  which  is  the  thickest,  and 
bears  a  resemblance  to  an  onion,  it  is  given  to  dogs  only,  as  a 
purgative.  The  ancients  used  to  select  those  roots  the  rind  of 
which  was  the  most  fleshy,  from  an  idea  that  the  pith  extracted 
therefrom  was  of  a  more  refined10  nature.  This  substance  they 
covered  with  wet  sponges,  and,  when  it  began  to  swell,  used 
to  split  it  longitudinally  with  a  needle ;  which  done,  the  fila- 
ments were  dried  in  the  shade,  for  future  use.  At  the  present 
day,  however,  the  fibres11  of  the  root  with  the  thickest  rind 
are  selected,  and  given  to  the  patient  just  as  they  are.  The 
best  hellebore  is  that  which  has  an  acrid,  burning  taste,  and 
when  broken,  emits  a  sort  of  dust.  It  retains  its  efficacy,  they 
say,  so  long  as  thirty  years. 


Elack  hellebore  is  administered  for  the  cure  of  paralysis, 
insanity,  dropsy — provided  there  is  no  fever — chronic  gout, 
and  diseases  of  the  joints :  it  has  the  effect  too,  of  carrying 

6  M.  Livius  Drusus.     See  B.  xxviii.  c.  42,  and  B.  xxxiii.  c.  6. 
6*  Anticyra  in  Phocis  was  a  peninsula,  not  an  island. 
•  In  B.  xxii.  c.  64.  8  In  B.  xix.  c.  18. 

9  Hence  the  Greek  name  "ectomon.  10  "Tenuior." 

11  This  is  the  meaning  assigned  by  Hardouin  to  the  word  "ramulos." 
Holland  renders  it  "small  shoots  "  or  "  slips,"  and  he  is  probably  right. 

Chap.  23.]  WHITE    HELLEBORE.  99 

off  the  bilious  secretions  and  morbid  humours  by  stool.  It  is 
given  also  in  water  as  a  gentle  aperient,  the  proportion  being 
one  drachma  at  the  very  utmost,  and  four  oboli  for  a  moderate 
dose.  Some  authorities  have  recomended  mixing  scammony 
with  it,  but  sa]t  is  looked  upon  as  more  safe.  If  given  in  any 
considerable  quantity  in  combination  with  a  sweet  substance, 
it  is  highly  dangerous  :  used  in  the  form  of  a  fomentation,  it 
disperses  films  upon  the  eyes  ;  and  hence  it  is  that  some  medical 
men  have  pounded  it  and  used  it  for  an  eye-salve.  It  ripens 
and  acts  detergently  upon  scrofulous  sores,  suppurations,  and 
indurated  tumours,  as  also  upon  fistulas,  but  in  this  latter  case 
it  must  be  removed  at  the  end  of  a  couple  of  days.  In  com- 
bination with  copper  filings12  and  sandarach,  it  removes  warts ; 
and  it  is  applied  to  the  abdominal  regions,  with  barley-meal 
and  wine,  in  cases  of  dropsy. 

This  plant  is  employed  for  the  cure  of  pituitous  defluxions 
in  cattle  and  beasts  of  burden,  a  slip  of  it  being  passed13 
through  the  ear,  and  removed  at  the  same  hour  on  the  fol- 
lowing day.  With  frankincense  also,  wax,  and  pitch,  or  else 
pisselaeon,14  it  is  used  for  the  cure  of  itch  in  quadrupeds. 



The  best  white  hellebore  is  that  which  acts  most  speedily  as 
a  sternutatory ;  but  it  would  seem  to  be  a  much  more  formid- 
able16 plant  than  the  black  kind  ;  more  particularly  if  we  read 
in  the  ancient  authors  the  precautions  used  by  those  about 
to  take  it,  against  cold  shiverings,  suffocation,  unnatural 
drowsiness,  continuous  hiccup  or  sneezing,  derangements  of 
the  stomach,  and  vomitings,  either  retarded  or  prolonged,  too 
sparing  or  in  excess.  Indeed,  it  was  generally  the  practice  to 
administer  other  substances  to  promote  vomiting,  and  to  carry 
off  the  hellebore  by  the  aid  of  purgatives  or  clysters,  while 
bleeding  even  was  frequently  had  recourse  to.  In  addition  to 
all  this,  however  successful  the  results  may  prove,  the  symptoms 
by  which  it  is  attended  are  really  most  alarming,  by  reason  of 

2  "  Squama  aeris." 

13  See  a  similar  statement  as  to  Consiligo,  in  B.  xxvi.  c.  21. 

14  See  B.  xv.  c.  7,  and  B.  xxiv.  c.  11. 

15  Its  properties,  Fee  says,  are  not  more  active  than  those  of  black  helle- 

H  2 

100  PLINY'S    NATURAL    HISTORY.  [BooTc  XXV. 

the  various  colours  which  the  matter  vomited  presents :  besides 
which,  after  the  vomiting  has  subsided,  the  physician  has  to 
pay  the  greatest  attention  to  the  nature  of  the  alvine  evacu- 
ations, the  due  and  proper  use  of  the  bath,  and  the  general 
regimen  adopted  by  the  patient ;  all  of  them  inconveniences 
in  themselves,  and  preceded  by  the  terrors  naturally  inspired 
by  the  character  of  the  drug  ;  for  one  story  is,  that  it  has  the 
property  of  consuming  flesh,  if  boiled  with  it. 

The  great  error,16  however,  on  the  part  of  the  ancients  was, 
that  in  consequence  of  these  fears,  they  used  to  give  it  too 
sparingly,  the  fact  being,  that  the  larger  the  dose,  the  more 
speedily  it  passes  through  the  body.  Themison  used  to  give 
no  more  than  two  drachmae,  but  at  a  later  period  as  much  as 
four  drachmae  was  administered  ;  in  conformity  with  the  cele- 
brated eulogium  passed  upon  it  by  Herophilus,17  who  was  in 
the  habit  of  comparing  hellebore  to  a  valiant  general,  and 
saying,  that  after  it  has  set  in  motion  all  within,  it  is  the 
first  to  sally  forth  and  show  the  way.  In  addition  to  these 
particulars,  there  has  been  a  singular  discovery  made  :  the 
hellebore  which,  as  we  have  already  stated,  has  been  cut  with 
a  small  pair  of  scissors,18  is  passed  through  a  sieve,  upon  which 
the  pith  makes  its  way  through,  while  the  outer  coat  remains 
behind.  The  latter  acts  as  a  purgative,  while  the  former  is 
used  for  the  purpose  of  arresting  vomiting  when  that  evacuation 
is  in  excess. 



In  order  to  secure  a  beneficial  result,  due  precautions  must 
be  taken  not  to  administer  hellebore  in  cloudy  weather ;  for  if 
given  at  such  a  time,  it  is  sure  to  be  productive  of  excruciating 
agonies.  Indeed  there  is  no  doubt  that  summer  is  a  better 
time  for  giving  it  than  winter :  the  body  too,  by  an  abstinence 
from  wine,  must  be  prepared  for  it  seven  days  previously, 
emetics  being  taken  on  the  fourth  and  third  days  before,  and 

1(5  Fee  remarks,  that  they  showed  their  wisdom  in  this. 

17  Herophilus,  it  must  be  remembered,  lived  a  considerable  time  before 

js  4<  Porficulis."  He  probably  refers  to  c.  21,  where,  however,  he  has 
mentioned  only  a  needle — "  acus."  It  is  possibly  a  lapsus  memoria  oil 
his  part. 

Chap.  25.]  HELLEBORE.  101 

the  patient  going  without  his  evening  meal  the  previous  day. 
White  hellebore,  too,  is  administered  in  a  sweet19  medium, 
though  lentils  or  pottage  are  found  to  be  the  best  for  the  pur- 
pose* There  has  been  a  plan  also,  lately  discovered,  of  splitting 
a  radish,  and  inserting  the  hellebore  in  it,  after  which  the 
sections  are  pressed  together ;  the  object  being  that  the  strength 
of  the  hellebore  may  be  incorporated  with  the  radish,  and  mo- 
dified thereby. 

At  the  end  of  about  four  hours  it  generally  begins  to  be 
brought  up  again  ;  and  within  seven  it  has  operated  to  the  full 
extent.  Administered  in  this  manner,  it  is  good  for  epilepsy, 
as  already20  stated,  vertigo,  melancholy,  insanity,  delirium, 
white  elephantiasis,  leprosy,  tetanus,  palsy,  gout,  dropsy,  in- 
cipient tympanitis,  stomachic  affections,  cynic  spasms,21  sciatica, 
quartan  fevers  which  defy  all  other  treatment,  chronic  coughs, 
flatulency,  and  recurrent  gripings  in  the  bowels. 



It  is  universally  recommended  not  to  give  hellebore  to  aged 
people  or  children,  to  persons  of  a  soft  and  effeminate  habit  of 
body  or  mind,  or  of  a  delicate  or  tender  constitution.  It  is  given 
less  frequently  too  to  females  than  to  males ;  and  persons  of  a 
timorous  disposition  are  recommended  not  to  take  it :  the  same 
also,  in  cases  where  the  viscera  are  ulcerated  or  tumefied,  and 
more  particularly  when  the  patient  is  afflicted  with  spitting  of 
blood,  or  with  maladies  of  the  side  or  fauces.  Hellebore  is  ap- 
plied, too,  externally,  with  salted  axle-grease,  to  morbid  eruptions 
of  the  body  and  suppurations  of  long  standing :  mixed  with 
polenta,  it  destroys  rats  and  mice.  The  people  of  Gaul,  when 
hunting,  tip  their  arrows  with  hellebore,  taking  care  to  cut 
away  the  parts  about  the  wound  in  the  animal  so  slain :  the 
flesh,  they  say,  is  all  the  more  tender  for  it.  Flies  are  destroyed 
with  white  hellebore,  bruised  and  sprinkled  about  a  place  with 
milk :  phthiriasis  is  also  cured  by  the  use  of  this  mixture. 

19  This  he  has  stated  to  be  attended  with  danger,  in  the  case  of  black 
hellebore,  should  the  dose  be  too  strong. 

20  In  c.  21  of  this  Book. 

21  Twitchings  of  the  mouth,  which  cause  the  patient  to  show  his  teeth, 
like  a  dog-. 


CHAP.  26.    (6.) — THE  MITHRIDATIA. 

Crateuas  ascribes  the  discovery  of  one  plant  to  Mithridates 
himself,  the  name  of  which  is  "  rnithridatia."22  Near  the  root 
it  has  two  leaves  resembling  those  of  the  acanthus,  between 
which  it  puts  forth  a  stem  supporting  a  flower  at  the  extre- 
mity, like  a  rose. 


Lenaeus  attributes  to  Mithridates  the  discovery  of  another 
plant,  the  scordotis23  or  scordion,  which  has  been  described,  he 
tells  us,  by  the  hand  even  of  that  prince.  This  plant,  he  says, 
is  a  cubit  in  height,  and  has  a  square  stem,  branchy,  covered 
with  downy  leaves,  and  resembling  the  quercus24  in  appearance  : 
it  is  found  growing  in  Pontus,  in  rich,  humid  soils,  and  has  a 
bitter  taste. 

There  is  another25  variety  also  of  this  plant,  with  a  larger 
leaf,  and  resembling  wild  mint  in  appearance.  They  are  both 
of  them  used  for  numerous  purposes,  both  individually  and  in 
combination  with  other  ingredients,  as  antidotes. 



The  polemonia26  is  known  as  the  "  philetaeria"  by  some,  in 
consequence  of  the  contest  which  has  arisen  between  certain 
kings  for  the  honour  of  its  discovery.  The  people  of  Cappa- 
docia  also  give  it  the  name  of  "  chiliodynamus."27  The  root  of 
it  is  substantial,  and  it  has  slender  branches,  with  umbels 

22  Caesalpinus  identifies  it  with  the  Erythronium  dens  canis  of  Linnaeus, 
and  Commerson  and  Schreiber  with  the  Dorstenia  tambourissa  of  Sonnerat. 
Fee  is  probably  right  in  considering  its  synonym  as  still  unknown. 

23  Hardouin  identifies  it  with  the    Stachys  Gernianica,  Linnaeus  and 
Sprengel  with  the  Nepeta  scordotis  of  Linnaeus,  and  Fee  with  the  Stachys 

24  Fee  remarks,  that  none  of  the  plants  mentioned  in  the  last  Note  bear 
any  resemblance  to  the  "  quercus,"  or  oak. 

25  Probably  tue  Teucrium  scorodonia  of  Linnaeus,  Fee  says ;  though,  as 
he  remarks,  the  description  might  apply  to  many  of  the  Labiatae. 

26  Its  names  were  derived  from  Poleraon,  a  king  of  Pontus,  and  Phile- 
taerus,  a  king  of  Cappadocia.      It  is  generally  identified  with  the  Pole- 
monium  caeruleum  of  Linnaeus,  Greek  valerian,  or  Jacob's  ladder.      M. 
Fraas  suggests  that  it  may  be  the  Hypericum  Olympicum  of  Linnaeus, 
with  which  he  also  identifies  the  Panaces  chironion. 

'£  "  With  a  thousand  virtues." 

Chap.  30.]  CENTAURIOHT.  103 

hanging  from  the  extremities,  and  a  black  seed.  In  other 
respects,  it  bears  a  resemblance  to  rue,  and  is  found  growing 
in  mountainous  localities. 


The  eupatoria28  also  is  a  plant  under  royal  patronage.  The 
stem  of  it  is  ligneous,  hairy,  and  swarthy,  and  a  cubit  or  more 
in  length.  The  leaves,  arranged  at  regular  intervals,  resemble 
those  of  cinquefoil  or  hemp ;  they  have  five  indentations  at  the 
edge,  and  are  swarthy  like  the  stem,  and  downy.  The  root  is 
never  used.  The  seed,  taken  in  wine,  is  a  sovereign,  remedy 
for  dysentery. 


Centaury,29  it  is  said,  effected  a  cure  for  Chiron,  on  the 
occasion  when,  while  handling  the  arms  of  Hercules,  his 
guest,  he  let  one  of  the  arrows  fall  upon  his  foot :  hence  it  is 
that  by  some  it  is  called  "  chironion."  The  leaves  of  it  are 
large  and  oblong,  serrated  at  the  edge,  and  growing  in 
thick  tufts  from  the  root  upwards.  The  stems,  some  three 
cubits  in  height  and  jointed,  bear  heads  resembling  those  of 
the  poppy.  The  root  is  large  and  spreading,  of  a  reddish, 
colour,  tender  and  brittle,  a  couple  of  cubits  in  length,  and  full 
of  a  bitter  juice,  somewhat  inclining  to  sweet. 

This  plant  grows  in  rich  soils  upon  declivities ;  the  best  in 
quality  being  that  of  Arcadia,  Elis,  Messenia,  Mount  Pholoe,  and 
Mount  Lyca3us :  it  grows  also  upon  the  Alps,  and  in  numerous 
other  localities,  and  in  Lycia  they  prepare  a  lycium30  from  it. 
So  remarkable  are  its  properties  for  closing  wounds,  that 
pieces  of  meat  even,  it  is  said,  are  soldered  together,  when  boiled 
with  it.  The  root  is  the  only  part  in  use,  being  administered 
in  dt>ses  of  two  drachmae  in  the  several  cases  hereafter31  men- 

28  So  called  probably  from  a  king  Eupator.     Sprengel  and  Desfontaines 
identify  it  with  the  Agrimonia  eupatorium,  but  Fee  prefers  the  Eupatorium 
cannabinum  of  Linnaeus,  relying  upon  the  description  given  by  Dioscorides. 
B.  iv.  c.  41. 

29  Fee  considers  this  to  be  the  same  with  the  Panacea  centaurion  or 
Pharnaceon  of  c.  14  of  this  Book,  the  greater  Centaury.     Littre  also 
names  the  Centaurea  centaureum  of  Linnasus. 

30  See  B.  xii.  c.  15.  B.  xxiii.  cc.  58,  60,  and  B.  xxiv.  c.  77,  for  a  pre- 
paration with  a  similar  name,  but,  as  Fee  says,  of  an  entirely  different 

31  In  B.  xxvi.  cc,  15,  19,  34,  55,  66,  76,  85,  and  91. 


tioned.  If,  however,  the  patient  is  suffering  from  fever,  it 
should  be  bruised  and  taken  in  water,  wine  being  used  in 
other  cases.  A  decoction  of  the  root  is  equally  useful  for  all 
the  same  purposes. 



There  is  another  centaury  also,  with  diminutive  leaves, 
known  by  the  additional  name  of  "  lep ton."32  By  some  per- 
sons it  is  called  "libadion,"33  from  the  circumstance  that  it 
grows  upon  the  borders  of  fountains.  It  is  similar  to  origanum 
in  appearance,  except  that  the  leaves  are  narrower  and  longer. 
The  stem  is  angular,  branchy,  and  a  palm  in  height ;  the  flower 
is  like  that  of  the  lychnis,34  and  the  root  is  thin,  and  never 
used.  It  is  in  the  juice  that  its  medicinal  properties  are 
centred:  it  being  gathered  in  the  autumn,  and  the  juice  extracted 
from  the  leaves.  Some  persons  cut  up  the  stalks,  and  steep 
them  for  some  eighteen  days  in  water,  and  then  extract  the 

In  Italy  this  kind  of  centaury  is  known  as  "gall55  of  the 
earth,"  from  its  extreme  bitterness.  The  Gauls  give  it  the 
name  of  "  exacum  ;"36  from  the  circumstance  that,  taken  in 
drink,  it  purges  off  all  noxious  substances  by  alvine  evacuation. 


There  is  a  third  kind  of  centaury  also,  known  as  the 
"  centauris  triorchis."37  It  is  but  rarely  that  a  person  cuts  it 
without  wounding  himself.  The  juice  emitted  is  just  the 
colour  of  blood.38  Theophrastus  relates  that  this  plant  is  under 

32  Or  "small"  centaury.     Probably  the  Chironia  centaureum of  Smith, 
Flor.  Brit. ,  our  Felwort.   Littre  names  the  Ery  thraea  centaureum  of  Persoon . 

33  From  Xipades,  "  flowing  streams." 

31  See  B.  xxi.  cc.  10,  39,  and  98,  also  c.  80  of  this  Book. 
35  "  Fel  terrae." 

35  A  word  of  Celtic  origin,  most  probably,  and  not  from  the  Greek,  as 
Pintianus  supposes. 

37  Theophrastus,  as  stated  by  Pliny,  in  B.  ix.  c.  9,  says  that  centaury  is 
protected  by  the  "triorchis"'  (see  B.  x.  cc.  95,  96),  and  Pliny  in  trans- 
lating the  passage  has  made  a  mistake  as  to  a  third  kind.     Fee  is  probably 
right  in  his  conjecture  that  the  Gentaurea  centaureum  is  meant ;  though 
Brotier  and  Desfontaines  look  upon  this  as  being  a  distinct  plant,  and 
identify  it  with  the  Rumex  sanguineus  of  Linnaeus. 

38  The  root  of  the  greater  centaury,  Fee  remarks,  is  of  a  deep  red  wi  thin. 

Chap.  34.1  GENTIAN.  105 

the  protection  of  the  triorchis,  a  kind  of  hawk,  which  attacks 
those  who  gather  it ;  a  circumstance  to  which  it  owes  its 
name.  Ignorant39  persons  are  in  the  habit  of  confounding  all 
these  characteristics,  and  attributing  them  to  the  centaury 
first  named. 

CHAP.  33.   (7). CLYMENTJS  :    TWO  REMEDIES. 

Clymenus  is  a  plant  so  called,  after  a  certain  king.46  It 
has  leaves  like  those  of  ivy,  numerous  branches,  and  a  hollow, 
jointed  stem.  The  smell  of  it  is  powerful,  and  the  seed  like 
that  of  ivy :  it  grows  in  wild  and  mountainous  localities. 
"We  shall  have  to  state  hereafter,  of  what  maladies  it  is  curative, 
taken  in  drink,  but  it  is  as  well  to  take  the  present  opportunity 
of  remarking  that,  while  effecting  a  cure,  in  the  male  sex  it 
neutralizes  the  generative  powers. 

The  Greeks  speak41  of  this  plant  as  being  similar  to  the 
plantago  in  appearance,  with  a  square  stem,  and  a  seed  in 
capsules,  interlaced  like  the  arms  of  the  polypus.  The  juice 
of  this  plant,  too,  is  used,  being  possessed  of  refreshing  pro- 
perties in  a  very  high  degree. 


Gentian42  was  first  discovered  by  Gentius,  king  of  Illyria. 
It  is  a  plant  to  be  found  everywhere,43  but  that  of  Illyria  is 
the  finest.  It  has  a  leaf  like  that  of  the  ash,44  but  equal  in 
size  to  a  lettuce-leaf:  the  stem  is  tender,  about  the- thickness 
of  the  thumb,  hollow  and  empty,  and  covered  with  leaves  at 
regular  intervals.  This  stem  is  sometimes  three  cubits  in 
length,  and  the  root  is  flexible,  swarthy,45  and  inodorous.  It 
is  found  in  the  greatest  abundance  in  humid  localities  at  the 
foot  of  the  Alps.  The  root  and  juice  are  the  parts  of  it 
that  are  used :  the  root  is  possessed  of  certain  warming  pro- 

39  Pliny  himself  is  one  of  the  "imperiti"  here. 

40  Son  of  Caeneus,  and  king  of  Arcadia.     The  plant  is  identified  with 
the  Lonicera  periclymenum  of  Linnaeus,   our  Woodbine  or  Honeysuckle. 
Sibthorp  identifies  the  Clymenum  of  Dioscorides  with  the  Convolvulus 
sepiura  of  Linnaeus,  andSprengel  with  the  Lathyrus  clymenum  of  Linnaeus. 

41  Possibly  the  Clymenum  of  Dioscorides,  mentioned  in  the  preceding 
Note.     Littre  names  the  Calendula  arvensis,  the  Field  marigold. 

4-  The  Gentiana  lutea  of  Linnaeus. 

4>  This,  Fee  remarks,  is  not  the  fact. 

44  This  comparison  is  inexact.  *5  It  is  not  swarthy. 


perties,  but  it  should  never  be  taken  by  women  in  a  state  of 


King  Lysimachus46  first  discovered  the  plant  which  from 
him  has  received  the  name  of  lysimachia,  and  the  merits  of 
which  have  been  so  highly  extolled  by  Erasistratus.  This 
plant  has  green  leaves  resembling  those  of  the  willow,  and  a 
purple47  blossom :  it  has  all  the  appearance  of  a  shrub,  the 
branches  are  erect,  and  it  has  a  pungent  smell.  It  is  found 
growing  in  watery  soils.  The  properties  of  it  are  so  extremely 
powerful,  that  if  placed  upon  the  yoke  when  beasts  of  burden 
are  restive,  it  will  be  sure  to  overcome  all  stubbornness  on  their 



"Women  too  have  even  affected  an  ambition  to  give  their 
name  to  plants:  thus,  for  instance,  Artemisia,  the  wife  of 
King  Mausolus,  adopted  the  plant,  which  before  was  known 
by  the  name  of  "  parthenis."  There  are  some  persons,  how- 
ever, who  are  of  opinion  that  it  received  this  surname  from  the 
goddess  Artemis  Ilithyia,49  from  the  fact  of  its  being  used  for 
the  cure  of  female  complaints  more  particularly.  It  is  a 
plant  with  numerous  branches,  like  those  of  wormwood,  but 
the  leaves  of  it  are  larger  and  substantial. 

There  are  two  varieties  of  it ;  one  has  broader50  leaves  than 
the  other,51  which  last  is  of  a  slender  form,  with  a  more  diminu- 
tive leaf,  and  grows  nowhere  but  in  maritime  districts. 

46  A  -king  of  Thrace,  contemporary  with  Alexander  the  Great.     Sprengel 
and  Desfontaines  identify  this  plant  with  the  Ly  thrum  salicaria  of  Linnaeus, 
the  purple  Willow-herb.     Fee,  on  the  authority  of  Dioscorides,  identifies 
it  with  the  Lysimachia  vulgaris  of  Linnaeus,  the  yellow  Willow-plant. 
Littre  gives  the  Lysimachia  atro-purpurea  of  Linnaeus. 

47  Pliny  has  probably  mistranslated  the  Greek  -n-vppov  here,  "reddish 
yellow."  48  An  absurdity,  of  course. 

49  Artemis  or  Diana,  the  guardian  of  pregnant  women. 

50  Probably  the  Artemisia  chamaemelifolia,  Camomile-leaved  mugwort. 
The  A.  arborescens,  the  Tree-wormwood  is  named  by  Littre. 

51  Either  the  Artemisia  Pontica    of   Linnaeus,    Little    wormwood,  or 
Roman  wormwood,  or  else  A.  campestris  of  Linnaeus,  Field  southern- wood. 

Chap.  38.]  EUPHORBIA.  107 

Some  persons  again,  give  this  name  to  a  plant62  which  grows 
more  inland,  with  a  single  stem,  extremely  diminutive  leaves, 
and  numerous  blossoms  which  open  at  the  ripening  of  the 
grape,  and  the  odour  of  which  is  far  from  unpleasant.  In  addi- 
tion to  this  name,  this  last  plant  is  known  as  "botrys  "  to  some 
persons,  and  "  ambrosia"  to  others  :M  it  grows  in  Cappadocia. 


The  plant  called  "nymphgea,"  owes  its  name,  they  say,  to  a 
Nymph  who  died  of  jealousy  conceived  on  account  of  Hercules, 
for  which  reason  it  is  also  known  as  "  heracleon"  by  some.  Ey 
other  persons,  again,  it  is  called  "  rhopalon,"  from  the  resem- 
blance of  its  root  to  a  club.54  *  *  *  *  and  hence  it  is  that 
those  who  take  it  in  drink  become  impotent  for  some  twelve 
days,  and  incapacitated  for  procreation.  That  of  the  first 
quality  is  found  in  Orchomenia  and  at  Marathon :  the  people  of 
Bceotia  call  it  "  madon, "  and  use  the  seed  for  food.  It  grows 
in  spots  covered  with  water ;  the  leaves65  of  it  are  large,  and 
float  upon  the  surface,  while  others  are  to  be  seen  springing 
from  the  roots  below.  The  flower  is  very  similar  to  a  lily 
in  appearance,  and  after  the  plant  has  shed  its  blossom,  the 
place  of  the  flower  is  occupied  by  a  head  like  that  of  the 
poppy.  The  stem  is  slender,  and  the  plant  is  usually  cut  in 
autumn.  The  root,  of  a  swarthy  hue,  is  dried  in  the  sun; 
garlic56  manifests  a  peculiar  antipathy  to  it. 

.There  is  another57  nymphaea  also,  which  grows  in  the  river 
Peneus,  in  Thessaly :  the  root  of  it  is  white,  and  the  head 
yellow,  about  the  size  of  a  rose. 



In  the  time,  too,  of  our  fathers,  King  Juba  discovered58  a 

52  Identified  with  the  Artemisia  camphorata  of  Linnaeus,  Camphorated 
mngwort.  53  Quite  a  different  plant.  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  11. 

54  Judging  from  the  text  of  Dioscorides,  a  passage  has  been  probably 
lost  here,  to  the  effect  that  "it  is  taken  in  drink  by  persons  troubled  with 
lascivious  dreams." 

55  Identified  with  the  Nymphaea  alba  of  Linnaeus,  the  "White-flowered 

56  "  Adversatur  ei  allium."     A  corrupt  reading,  in  all  probability. 

57  The  Nuphar  lutea  of  Sib  thorp  ;    the  Yellow-flowered  nymphjea,  or 
Nenuphar.  6S  See  B.  v.  c.  i. 


plant,  to  which  he  gave  the  name  of  "  euphorbia,"  in  honour 
of  his  physician,  Euphorbus,  the  brother  of  the  same  Musa, 
whom  we  have  mentioned59  as  having  saved  the  life  of  the  late 
Emperor  Augustus.  It  was  these  brothers  who  introduced  the 
practice  of  douching  the  body  with  large  quantities  of  cold 
water,  immediately  after  the  bath,  for  the  purpose  of  bracing 
the  system  :  whereas  in  former  times,  as  we  find  stated  in  the 
works  of  Homer60  even,  it  was  the  practice  to  wash  the  body 
with  warm  water  only.  With  reference  to  euphorbia,61  there 
is  a  treatise  still  in  existence,  written  upon  it  by  King  Juba, 
in  which  he  highly  extols  its  merits  :  he  discovered  it  growing 
upon  Mount  Atlas,  and  describes  it  as  resembling  a  thyrsus  in 
appearance,  and  bearing  leaves  like  those  of  the  acanthus.62 

The  properties  of  this  plant  are  so  remarkably  powerful,63 
that  the  persons  engaged  in  collecting  the  juices  of  it  are 
obliged  to  stand  at  a  considerable  distance.  The  incisions  are 
made  with  a  long  pole  shod  with  iron,  the  juice  flowing  into 
receivers  of  kid-leather  placed  beneath.  The  juice  has  all  the 
appearance  of  milk,  as  it  exudes,  but  when  it  has  coagulated 
and  dried,  it  assumes  the  form  and  consistency  of  frankincense. 
The  persons  engaged  in  collecting  it,  find  their  sight  improved64 
thereby.  This  juice  is  an  excellent  remedy  for  the  stings  of 
serpents  :  in  whatever  part  of  the  body  the  wound  may  have 
been  inflicted,  the  practice  is  to  make  an  incision  in  the  crown 
of  the  head,  and  there  introduce  the  medicament.  The  Gsetuli 
who  collect  it,  are  in  the  habit  of  adulterating  it  with  warm 
milk  ;M  a  fraud,  however,  easily  to  be  detected  by  the  agency 
of  fire,  that  which  is  not  genuine  emitting  a  most  disgusting 

Much  inferior  to  this  is  the  juice  extracted,  in  Gaul,66  from 
the  chamelaea,67  a  plant  which  bears  the  grain  of  Cnidos.  When 
broken  asunder,  it  resembles  hammoniacum68  in  appearance  j 
and  however  slightly  tasted,  it  leaves  a  burning  sensation  in 

59  In  B.  xix.  c.  38.  6°  II.  xii.  444. 

61  The  Euphorbia  officinarum  of  Linnaeus,  Officinal  spurge. 

62  An  incorrect  statement,  as  Fee  remarks. 

63  Its  odour,  Fee  says,  is  not  so  strong  as  Pliny  would  have  us  believe. 

64  On  the  contrary,  Fee  observes,  it  would  be  not  unlikely  to  produce 
ophthalmia  of  the  most  obstinate  kind. 

65  This  Fee  considers  to  be  almost  impracticable. 

6<i  Cisalpine  Gaul.  67  See  B.  xiii.  c,  35. 

68  See  B.  xii.  c.  49,  B.  xxiv.  c.  14,  and  B.  xxxi.  c.  39. 

Chap.  40.]  BT7GLOSSOS.  109 

the  mouth,  which  lasts  a  considerable  time,  and  increases  every 
now  and  then,  until,  in  fact,  it  has  quite  parched  the  fauces. 

CHAP.    39.    (8.) — TWO    VARIETIES    OF   THE    PLANTAGO  I    FORTY -SIX 

The  physician  Themiso,  too,  has  conferred  some  celebrity 
upon  the  plantago,  otherwise  a  very  common  plant ;  indeed  he 
lias  written  a  treatise  upon  it,  as  though  he  had  been  the  first 
to  discover  it.  There  are  two  varieties  ;  one,  more  diminu- 
tive69 than  the  other,  has  a  narrower  and  more  swarthy  leaf, 
strongly  resembling  a  sheep* s  tongue  in  appearance  :  the  stem 
of  it  is  angular  and  bends  downwards,  and  it  is  generally  found 
growing  in  meadow  lands.  The  larger70  kind  has  leaves 
enclosed  with  ribs  at  the  sides,  to  all  appearance,  from  the 
fact  of  which  being  seven71  in  number,  the  plant  has  been 
called  "  heptapleuron"72  by  some.  The  stem  of  it  is  a  cubit  in 
height,  and  strongly  resembles  that  of  the  turnip.  That 
which  is  grown  in  a  moist  soil  is  considered  much  the  most 
efficacious :  it  is  possessed  of  marvellous  virtues  as  a  desiccative 
and  as  an  astringent,  and  has  all  the  effect  of  a  cautery.  There 
is  nothing  that  so  effectually  arrests  the  fluxes  known  by  the 
Greeks  as  "  rheumatism!. " 


To  an  account  of  the  plantago  may  be  annexed  that  of 
the  buglossos,  the  leaf  of  which  resembles  an  ox  tongue.73  The 
main  peculiarity  of  this  plant  is,  that  if  put  into  wine,  it  pro- 
motes74 mirth  and  hilarity,  whence  it  has  obtained  the  additional 
name  of  "  euphrosynurn."75 

69  The  Plantago 'lagopus    of    Linnaeus,    according  to  Sibthorp  ;   but 
Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Plantago  lanceolata  of  Linnaeus,  or  else  the 
P.  maritima. 

70  The  Plantago  altissiraa  or  major  of  modern  botany. 

71  I.  e.  the  ribs,  nerves,  or  sine\vs  of  the  leaf. 

72  "  Seven-sided." 

73  Whence  its  name,  from  the  Greek.     Sprengel  and  Desfontaines  iden- 
tify it  with  the  Borrago  officinalis  of  Linnaeus,  our  Borage.     Littre  gives 
the  Anchusa  Italica, 

74  Though  Pliny's  assertion  is  supported  by  the  authority  of  the  School  of 
Salerno,  Fee  treats  it  as  entirely  unfounded.      Leaves  of  borage  still  form 
an  ingredient  in  the  beverages  known  as  Copas  and  Cider-cup  at  Cam- 
bridge.    See   tbis  usage,  and  the  identity  of  the  Buglossos  discussed  at 
some  length  by  Beckmann,  Hist.  Inv.  Vol.  ii.  p.  340,  John's  Ed. 

75  "  Promoting  cheerfulness." 

110                             PLINY'S   NATURAL   HISTORY.  [Book  XXV. 


To  this  plant  we  may  also  annex  an  account  of  the  cynoglos- 
sos,76  the  leaf  of  which  resembles  a  dog's  tongue,  and  which  pro- 
duces so  pleasing  an  effect77  in  ornamental  gardening.  The 
root,  it  is  said,  of  the  kind  which  bears  three78  stems  sur- 
mounted with  seed,  is  very  useful,  taken  in  water,  for  tertian, 
and  of  that  with  four  stems,  for  quartan,  fevers. 

There  is  another  plant79  very  similar  to  it,  which  bears 
diminutive  burrs  resembling  those  of  the  iappa  : 79*  the  root  of 
it,  taken  in  water,  is  curative  of  wounds  inflicted  by  frogs80 
or  serpents. 


There  is  the  buphthalmos81  also,  so  called  from  its  resem- 
blance to  an  ox's  eye,  and  with  a  leaf  like  that  of  fennel.  It 
grows  in  the  vicinity  of  towns,  and  is  a  branchy  plant,  with 
numerous  stems,  which  are  boiled  and  eaten.  Some  persons 
give  it  the  name  of  "  cachla."  In  combination  with  wax,  it 
disperses  scirrhi.82 


Entire  nations,  too,  have  been  the  discoverers  of  certain 
plants.  The  Scythse  were  the  first  to  discover  the  plant  known 
as  "  scythice,"83  which  grows  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Palus83* 

76  "  Dog's  tongue."     The  Cynoglossum  offieinale  of  Linnaeus,  Hounds' 
tongue,  or  Venus'  navel-wort ;  or  else  the  C.  pictum  of  Alton. 

77  Fee  is  at  a  loss  to  know  how  it  can  have  been  employed  in  topiary 
work,  or  ornamental  gardening. 

78  This  statement  is  made  by  Dioscorides  with  reference  to  Arnoglossos, 
Lamb's  tongue,  or  Plantago.     See  c.  39,  above. 

79  Identified  with  the  Myosotis  lappula  of    Linnaeus,  Prickly-seeded 
scorpion-grass.  79*  See  B.  xxi.  c.  64. 

80  "  Ranis."     Under  this  name  he  probably  includes  toads. 

81  Sprengel  and  Desfontaines  identify  it  with  the  Anthemis  valentina  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Purple-stalked  camomile ;  but  Fee  agrees  with  Sibthorp  in 
considering  it  to  be  the  Chrysanthemum  segetum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Corn 
marigold,  the  former  not  being,  apparently,  a  native  of  Greece.    Littre  gives 
the  Chrysanthemum  coronarium  of  Linnaeus,  the  Garland  chrysanthemum. 

2  "  Steatomata."     Tumours  of  a  fatty  nature. 

83  Generally  agreed  to  be  identical  with  the  Glycyrrhiza  of  B.  xxii.  c.  2, 
our  Liquorice.  Fee  says  that  the  G.  asperrima  grows  in  great  abundance 
on  the  banks  of  the  river  Volga.  83*  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  1. 

Chap.  46.]  THE   CESTROS.  1 1  1 

Maeotis.  Among  its  other  properties,  this  plant  is  remarkably 
sweet,  and  extremely  useful  for  the  affection  known  as 
"  asthma. "  It  is  also  possessed  of  another  great  recommenda- 
tion— so  long  as  a  person  keeps  it  in  his  mouth,  he  will  never84 
experience  hunger  or  thirst. 


The  hippace,85  another  plant  that  grows  in  Scythia,  is 
possessed  of  similar  properties  :  it  owes86  its  name  to  the 
circumstance  that  it  produces  the  like  effect  upon  horses.  By 
the  aid  of  these  two  plants,  the  Scythse,  they  say,  are  enabled 
to  endure  hunger  and  thirst,  so  long  as  twelve  days  even. 


The  Thracians  were  the  first  to  discover  the  ischsemon,87 
which,  it  is  said,  has  the  property  of  stanching  the  flow  of 
blood,  not  only  when  a  vein  has  been  opened,  but  when  it  has 
been  cut  asunder  even.  This  is  a  creeping  plant ;  it  is  like 
millet  in  appearance,  and  the  leaves  of  it  are  rough  and  lanugi- 
nous.  It  is  used  as  a  plug88  for  the  nostrils.  The  kind  that 
grows  in  Italy,  attached  to  the  body  as  an  amulet,  has  the  pro- 
perty of  arresting  haemorrhage. 



The  Yettones,  a  people  of  Spain,  were  the  original  discoverers 
of  the  plant  known  as  the  "  vettonica"89  in  Gaul,  the  "  serra- 
tula"90  in  Italy,  and  the  "  cestros"  or  "  psycho trophon"91  in 

i  Liquorice  certainly  palls  the  appetite,  but  it  is  very  apt  to  create  thirst. 

85  In  copying  from  the  Greek,  Pliny  has  mistaken  "  hippace,"  a  cheese 
made  from  mare's  milk,  for  a  plant !     It  is  very  likely,  however,  that  it 
would  tend,  like  any  other  cheese,  to  appease  hunger,  though,  probably, 
not  thirst. 

86  He  has  probably  invented  this  reason  himself,  as  it  is  hardly  probable 
that  the  Scythians  would  feed  their  horses  with  cheese,  even  though  made 
from  mare's  milk. 

87  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Andropogon  ischsemon  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Woolly  andropogon.     Fee  expresses  his  doubts  as  to  its  identification.     It 
derives  its  name  "ischaemon,"   from  its  property  of  stanching  blood. 

**  To  arrest  epistaxis  or  bleeding  at  the  nose. 

89  The  Betoniea  alopecuros  of  Linnaeus,  the  Fox-tail  betony. 

90  The  "  little  saw." 

&1  "  Nurtured  by  breezes."     M.  Fraas  thinks  that  the  Cestros  of  the 

112  FLINT* 8   NATURAL    HISTORY.  [Book  XX V. 

Greece.  This  is  a  plant  more  highly  esteemed  than  any  other :  it 
puts  forth  an  angular  stem  two  cubits  in  height,  and  throws  out 
leaves  from  the  root,  with  serrated  edges,  and  closely  resembling 
those  of  lapathum.92  The  seed  of  it  is  purple :  the  leaves  are 
dried  and  powdered,  and  used  for  numerous  purposes.  There 
is  a  wine  also  prepared  from  it,  and  a  vinegar,  remarkably 
beneficial  to  the  stomach  and  the  eyesight.  Indeed,  this  plant 
enjoys  so  extraordinary  a  reputation,  that  it  is  a  common  be- 
lief even  that  the  house  which  contains  it  is  insured  against 
misfortunes  of  every  kind. 


In  Spain,  too,  is  found  the  cantabrica,93  which  was  first  dis- 
covered by  the  nation  of  the  Cantabri  in  the  time  of  the  late 
Emperor  Augustus.  It  grows  everywhere  in  those  parts,  having 
a  stem  like  that  of  the  bulrush,  a  foot  in  height,  and  bearing 
small  oblong  flowers,  like  a  calathus94  in  shape,  and  enclos- 
ing an  extremely  diminutive  seed. 

Nor  indeed,  in  other  respects,  have  the  people  of  Spain 
been  wanting  in  their  researches  into  the  nature  of  plants  ;  for 
at  the  present  day  even  it  is  the  custom  in  that  country,  at 
their  more  jovial  entertainments,  to  use  a  drink  called  the 
hundred-plant  drink,  combined  with  a  proportion  of  honied 
wine;  it  being  their  belief,  that  the  wine  is  rendered  more  whole- 
some and  agreeable  by  the  admixture  of  these  plants.  It  still 
remains  unknown  to  us,  what  these  different  plants  are,  or  in 
what  number  exactly  they  are  used  :  as  to  this  last  question, 
however,  we  may  form  some  conclusion  from  the  name  that  is 
given  to  the  beverage. 


Our  own  age,  too,  can  remember  the  fact  of  a  plant  being 
discovered  in  the  country  of  the  Marsi.  It  is  found  growing 
also  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  village  of  Kervesia,  in  the 
territory  of  the  JEquicoli,  and  is  known  by  the  name  of 

Greeks  is  a  different  plant  from  the  Vettonica  of  the  Romans,  and  identifies 
it  with  the  Sideritis  Syriaca.  92  See  B.  xx.  e.  85. 

93  Pliny  is  the  only  author  that  mentions  the  Cantabrica,  and  his  account, 
Fee  thinks,  is  too  meagre  to  enahle  us  satisfactorily  to  identify  it  with  the 
Convolvulus  cantahrica  of  Linnasus. 

84  A  conical  work-basket  or  cup.     See  B,  xxi.  c.  11, 

Chap.  49.]  THE    IBEKIS.  113 

"  consiligo."9'  It  is  very  useful,  as  we  shall  have  occasion  to 
mention96  in  the  appropriate  place,  in  cases  of  phthisis  where 
recovery  is  considered  more  than  doubtful. 


It  is  but  very  lately,  too,  that  Servilius  Democrates,  one  of 
our  most  eminent  physicians,  first  called  attention  to  a  plant 
to  which  he  gave  the  name  of  iberis,97  a  fanciful  appellation98 
only,  bestowed  by  him  upon  this  discovery  of  his  in  the 
verses  by  him  devoted99  to  it.  This  plant  is  found  mostly 
growing  in  the  vicinity  of  ancient  monuments,  old  walls,  and 
overgrown  footpaths :  it  is  an  evergreen,  and  its  leaves  are 
like  those  of  nasturtium,  with  a  stem  a  cubit  in  height,  and  a 
seed  so  diminutive  as  to  be  hardly  perceptible  ;  the  root,  too, 
has  just  the  smell  of  nasturtium.  Its  properties  are  more 
strongly  developed  in  summer,  and  it  is  only  used  fresh- 
gathered  :  there  is  considerable  difficulty  in  pounding  it. 

Mixed  with  a  small  proportion  of  axle- grease,  it  is  extremely 
useful  for  sciatica  and  all  diseases  of  the  joints  ;  the  application 
being  kept  on  some  four  hours  at  the  utmost,  when  used  by 
the  male  sex,  and  about  half  that  time  in  the  case  of  females. 
Immediately  after  its  removal,  the  patient  must  take  a  warm 
bath,  and  then  anoint  the  body  all  over  with  oil  and  wine — 
the  same  operation  being  repeated  every  twenty  days,  so  long 
as  there  are  any  symptoms  of  pain  remaining.  A  similar 
method  is  adopted  for  the  cure  of  all  internal  defluxions ;  it 

95  Sprengel  and  other  commentators  identify  it  with  the  Pulmonaria 
officinalis  of  Linnaeus,  Lungwort  or  Pulmonary.  Others,  again,  consider  it 
to  he  the  Veratrum  album  of  Linnaeus,  or  "White  hellebore.  Fee  considers 
that  its  synonym  has  not  hitherto  been  discovered.  Holland  calls  it  Bear- 
foot.  96  B.  xxvi.  c.  21. 

97  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Lepidium  graminifolium  of  Linnaeus,  Grass- 
leaved  pepperwort ;  Desfontaines  with  the  L.   Iberis  of  Linnaeus,  Bushy 
pepperwort     Littre  gives  as  its  synonym  the  Iberis  amara  of  Linnaeus, 
the  White  candy-tuft. 

98  "  Fictum  nomen."      Salmasius  thinks  that  by  these  words,  Pliny 
means  that  Democrates  invented  the  name  of  a  friend  of  his  as  being  the 
discoverer  of  this  plant,  which  in  reality  was  discovered  by  himself.      It 
would  seem  to  mean,  however,  that  the  name  "  iberis  "  was  only  a  fanciful 
title,  derived  from  the  country  where  it  was  found,  and  given  to  it  for  want 
of  acquaintance  with  its  real  name. 

99  Still  preserved  in  Galen,  B.  x.  c.  2. 

VOL.   v.  I 


is  never  applied,  however,  so  long  as  the  inflammation  is  at  its 
height,  but  only  when  it  has  somewhat  abated. 



The  brute  animals  also  have  been  the  discoverers  of  certain 
plants :  among  them,  we  will  name  chelidonia  first  of  all.  It 
is  by  the  aid  of  this  plant  that  the  swallow  restores  the  sight 
of  the  young  birds  in  the  nest,  and  even,  as  some  persons  will 
have  it,  when  the  eyes  have  been  plucked  out.  There  are  two 
varieties  of  this  plant ;  the  larger1  kind  has  a  branchy  stem,  and 
a  leaf  somewhat  similar  to  that  of  the  wild  parsnip,2  but 
larger.  The  plant  itself  is  some  two  cubits  in  height,  and  of 
a  whitish  colour,  that  of  the  flower  being  yellow.  The  smaller3 
kind  has  leaves  like  those  of  ivy,  only  rounder  and  not  so 
white.  The  juice  of  it  is  pungent,  and  resembles  saffron  in 
colour,  and  the  seed  is  similar  to  that  of  the  poppy. 

These  plants  blossom,4  both  of  them,  at  the  arrival  of  the 
swallow,  and  wither  at  the  time  of  its  departure.  The  juice 
is  extracted  while  they  are  in  flower,  and  is  boiled  gently  in  a 
copper  vessel  on  hot  ashes,  with  Attic  honey,  being  esteemed 
a  sovereign  remedy  for  films  upon  the  eyes.  This  juice  is 
employed  also,  unmixed  with  any  other  substance,  for  the 
eyesalves,5  which  from  it  take  their  name  of  "  chelidonia." 


Dogs,  too,  are  in  the  habit  of  seeking  a  certain  plant,0  as  a 
stimulant  to  the  appetite ;  but  although  they  eat  it  in  our 
presence,  it  has  never  yet  been  discovered  what  it  is,  it  being 
quite  impossible  to  recognize  it  when  seen  half-chewed. 
There  has  also  been  remarked  another  bit  of  spitefulness  in 
this  animal,  though  in  a  much  greater  degree,  in  reference  to 

1  The  Chelidonium  majus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Greater  celandine  or  swallow- 
wort.  2  "  Pastinaca  erratica."  See  c.  64  of  this  Book. 

3  Identified  with  the  Ranunculus   ficaria  of  Linnaeus,  the  Pilewort,  or 
Lesser  celandine. 

4  The  same  is  the  case,  Fee  remarks,  with  numbers  of  other  plants. 

5  "Collyriis." 

6  The  Dactylos  of  B.  xxiv.  c.  119,  is  supposed  to  be  the  plant  alluded  to. 
The  word  "  canariam  "  is  found  here  in  former  editions,  but  Sillig1  omits 
it.     Indeed  Pliny  seems  to  say  that  it  is  quite  unknown  to  him. 

Chap.  53.]  DICTAMNON.  115 

another  plant.  When  stung  by  a  serpent,  it  cures  itself,  they 
say,  by  eating  a  certain  herb,  taking  care,  however,  never  to 
gather  it  in  presence  of  man. 


The  hind,  with  a  much  greater  degree  of  frankness,  has  dis- 
covered to  us  the  elaphoboscon,  a  plant  of  which  we  have 
already7  spoken,  and  which  is  also  called  "  helxine,"8  from  the 
assistance  it  affords  those  animals  in  yeaning. 



It  is  the  hind,  too,  that,  as  already9  stated,  first  made  us  ac- 
quainted with  dictamnon,10  or  dittany  ;  for  when  wounded,  it 
eats  some  of  this  plant,  and  the  weapon  immediately  falls  from 
the  body.  This  plant  grows  nowhere11  but  in  Crete.  The 
branches  of  it  are  remarkably  thin ;  it  resembles  pennyroyal 
in  appearance,  and  is  hot  and  acrid  to  the  taste.  The  leaves 
are  the  only  part  employed,  it  being  destitute  of12  blossom, 
seed,  and  stem  :  the  root  is  thin,  and  never  used.  In  Crete 
even,  it  is  found  growing  only  in  a  very  limited  locality,  and 
is  sought  by  goats  with  singular  avidity. 

In  place  of  it,  the  pseudodictamnum13  is  employed,  a  plant 
that  is  found  growing  in  many  countries.  In  leaf  it  is  similar 
to  the  other,  but  the  branches  are  more  diminutive  :  by  some 
persons  it  is  known  as  "  chondris."  Its  properties  not  being 
so  strongly  developed,  the  difference  is  immediately  recognized : 
for  an  infusion  of  the  very  smallest  piece  of  the  real  dittany, 

7  In  B.  xxii.  c.  37. 

8  From  the  Greek  e'Xicw,   "  to  draw." 

9  In  B.  viii.  c.  41. 

10  The  Origanum  dictamnus  of  Linnaeus,  Dittany  of  Candia. 

11  This  is  an  error :    it  grows,  and  doubtless  did  in  Pliny's  time,  in 
numerous  other  places ;  but  that  of  Mount  Ida  in  Crete  was  held  in  the 
highest  esteem. 

12  It  has  all  three,  in  fact ;  as  Fee  says,  it  is  evident  that  Pliny  never 
saw  it.     Its  medicinal  properties  are  no  longer  held  in  any  esteem. 

13  "  False-dittany."      It  is  generally  identified  with  the  Marrubium 
pseudodictamnus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Shrubby  white  horehound  ;  though  per- 
haps on  insufficient  grounds. 

I  2 

116  PLINY:S   NATUBAL    HISTOKT.  [Book  XXV. 

is  sufficient  to  burn  the  mouth.  The  persons  who  gather  it 
are  in  the  habit  of  enclosing  it  in  a  stem  of  fennel-giant  or  in  a 
reed,  which  they  close  at  the  ends  that  the  virtues  of  it  may 
not  escape.  Some  persons  say,  that  both  plants  grow  indis- 
criminately in  numerous  localities,  the  inferior  sort  being  the 
produce  of  rich  soils,  and  the  genuine  dittany  being  found 
nowhere  but  in  rugged,  uncultivated  spots. 

There  is,  again,  a  third14  plant  called  "  dictamnum,"  which, 
however,  has  neither  the  appearance  nor  the  properties  of  the 
other  plant  so  called  ;  the  leaves  of  it  are  like  those  of  sisym- 
brium,15  but  the  branches  are  larger. 

There  has  long  been  this  impression  with  reference  to  Crete, 
that  whatever  plant  grows  there  is  infinitely  superior  in  its 
properties  to  a  similar  plant  the  produce  of  any  other  country ; 
the  second  rank  being  given  to  the  produce  of  Mount  Parnassus. 
In  addition  to  this,  it  is  generally  asserted  that  simples  of  ex- 
cellent quality  are  found  upon  Mount  Pelion  in  Thessaly, 
Mount  Teleuthrius  in  Eubcea,  and  throughout  the  whole  of 
Arcadia  and  Laconia,  Indeed,  the  Arcadians,  they  say,  are 
in  the  habit  of  using,  not  the  simples  themselves,  but  milk, 
in  the  spring  season  more  particularly  ;  a  period  at  which  the 
field  plants  are  swollen  with  juice,  and  the  milk  is  medicated 
by  their  agency.  It  is  cows'  milk  in  especial  that  they  use 
for  this  purpose,  those  animals  being  in  the  habit  of  feeding 
upon  nearly  every  kind  of  plant.  The  potent  properties  of 
plants  are  manifested  by  their  action  upon  four-footed  animals 
in  two  very  remarkable  instances  :  in  the  vicinity  of  Abdera 
and  the  tract  known  as  the  Boundary16  of  Diomedes,  the  horses, 
after  pasturing,  become  inflamed  with  frantic  fury  ;  the  same 
is  the  case,  too,  with  the  male  asses,  in  the  neighbourhood  of 



In  the  number  of  the  most  celebrated  plants  is  the  aristo- 

14  Fee  is  inclined,  with  Sprengel,  to  identify  it  with  the  Origanum 
Creticum  of  Linnaeus.     Other  commentators  have  suggested  the  Origanum 
Tournefortii,   the  Thymus  mastichina  of  Linnaeus,  and  the  Marrubium 
acetabulosum  of  Linnaeus. 

15  See  B.  xx.  c.  91.  16  "  Limes  Diomcdis." 

Chap.  54.]  THE   AKISTOLOCHIA.  117 

lochia,  which  would  appear  to  have  derived  its  name  from 
females  in  a  state  of  pregnancy,  as  being  apiGrri  Xo^ou<ra/$,17 
Among  us,  however,  it  is  known  as  the  "  malum  terrse,"  or 
apple  of  the  earth,18  four  different  varieties  of  it  being  dis- 
tinguished. One  of  these  has  a  root  covered  with  tubercles  of 
a  rounded19  shape,  and  leaves  of  a  mixed  appearance,  between 
those  of  the  mallow  and  the  ivy,  only  softer  and  more  swarthy. 
The  second20  kind  is  the  male  plant,  with  an  elongated  root 
some  four  fingers  in  length,  and  the  thickness  of  a  walking- 
stick.  A  third21  variety  is  extremely  thin  and  long,  similar  to 
a  young  vine  in  appearance  :  it  has  the  most  strongly-marked 
properties  of  them  all,  and  is  known  by  the  additional  names 
of  "  clematitis,"  and  "cretica."  All  these  plants  are  the 
colour  of  boxwood,  have  a  slender  stem,  and  bear  a  purple  flower 
and  small  berries  like  those  of  the  caper :  the  root  is  the  only 
part  that  is  possessed  of  any  virtues. 

There  is  also  a  fourth22  kind,  the  name  given  to  which  is 
"  plistolochia  ;"  it  is  more  slender  than  the  one  last  mentioned, 
has  a  root  thickly  covered  with  filaments,  and  is  about  as  thick 
as  a  good-sized  bulrush  :  another  name  given  to  it  is  "  polyr- 
rhizos."  The  smell  of  all  these  plants  is  medicinal,  but  that  of 
the  one  with  an  oblong  root  and  a  very  slender  stem,  is  the  most 
agreeable  :  this  last,  in  fact,  which  has  a  fleshy  outer  coat,  is 
well  adapted  as  an  ingredient  for  nardine  unguents  even.  They 
grow  in  rich  champaign  soils,  and  the  best  time  for  gathering 
them  is  harvest ;  after  the  earth  is  scraped  from  off  them,  they 
are  put  by  for  keeping. 

The  aristolochia  that  is  the  most  esteemed,  however,  is  that 

17  "Most  excellent  for  pregnancy."  18  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  56. 

19  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Aristolochia  rotunda  of  Linnseus,  Kounded 
birthwort,  a  native  of  the  south  of  France  and  the  southern  parts    of 
Europe.     Littre  gives  the  Aristolochia  pallida  of  Willdenow. 

20  Most  probably  the  Aristolochia  longa  of  Linnaeus,  found  in  France, 
Spain,  Portugal,  and  Italy,     Littre  gives  as  its  synonym  the  Aristolochia 
parvifolia  of  Sibthorp. 

21  The  Aristolochia  clematis  of   Linnaeus,   almost  identical  with  the 
Aristolochia  Cretica  and  Baetica. 

22  The  Aristolochia  plistolochia  of   Linnaeus,    the  Spanish  branching 
stemmed  birthwort.     Fee  thinks  that  these  identifications,  though  probable 
enough,  are  not  altogether  satisfactory,  and  that  the  Greeks  may  have  made 
these  distinctions  between  varieties  of  the  plant  comparatively  unknown  to 
the  rest  of  Europe.      They  are  no  longer  held  in  any  esteem  for  their 
medicinal  properties. 


which  comes  from  Pontus ;  but  whatever  the  soil  may  happen 
to  be,  the  more  weighty  it  is,  the  better  adapted  it  is  for  me- 
dicinal purposes.  The  aristolochia  with  a  round  root  is  re- 
commended for  the  stings  of  serpents,  and  that  with  an  oblong 
root  *  *  *  *  But  in  this  is  centred  its  principal  repu- 
tation ;  applied  to  the  uterus  with  raw  beef,  as  a  pessary,  im- 
mediately after  conception,  it  will  ensure  the  birth  of  male'"3 
issue,  they  say.  The  fishermen  on  the  coasts  of  Campania 
give  the  round  root  the  name  of  "poison  of  the  earth  ;"  and  I 
myself  have  seen  them  pound  it  with  lime,  and  throw  it  into 
the  sea ;  immediately  on  which  the  fish  flew  towards  it  with 
surprising  avidity,  and  being  struck  dead  in  an  instant,  floated 
upon  the  surface. 

The  kind  that  is  known  as  "  polyrrhizos,"24  is  remarkably 
good,  they  say,  for  convulsions,  contusions,  and  falls  with 
violence,  an  infusion  of  the  root  being  taken  in  water :  the 
seed,  too,  is  useful  for  pleurisy  and  affections  of  the  sinews.  It 
is  considered,  too,  to  be  possessed  of  warming  and  strengthening 
properties,  similar  to  those  of  satyrion,26  in  fact. 



But  it  will  be  as  well  now  to  mention  the  various  uses  made 
of  these  plants,  and  the  effects  produced  by  them,  beginning 
with  that  most  dangerous  of  all  evils  that  can  befall  us,  stings 
inflicted  by  serpents.  In  such  cases  the  plant  britannica 27 
effects  a  cure,  and  the  same  is  the  case  with  the  root  of  all  the 
varieties  of  panaces,28  administered  in  wine.  The  flower,  too, 
and  seed  of  panaces  chironion  are  taken  in  drink,  or  applied 
externally  with  wine  and  oil :  cunila  bubula,29  too,  is  looked 
upon  as  particularly  useful  for  this  purpose,  and  the  root  of 
polemonia  or  philetaeris  is  taken  in  doses  of  four  drachmae  in 
unmixed  wine.  Teucria,30  sideritis,31  and  scordotis,32  are  used 
in  wine,  plants  particularly  good,,  all  of  them,  for  injuries  in- 
flicted by  snakes ;  the  juice  or  leaves,  or  else  a  decoction  of 

23  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  91.  24  "  With  many  roots." 

26  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  62.  ™  See  c.  6  of  this  Book. 

28  See  cc.  11,  12,  13,  14,  of  this  Book. 

29  See  B.  xx.  c.  61.  30  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  80. 

31  See  c.  15  of  this  Book.  32  See  c.  27  of  this  Book. 

Chap.  56.]  THE   ARGEHONIA.  119 

them,  being  taken  in  drink  or  applied  to  the  wound.  For  a 
similar  purpose  also,  the  root  of  the  greater  centaury  is  taken, 
in  doses  of  one  drachma  to  three  cyathi  of  white  wine.  Gentian, 
too,  is  particularly  good  for  the  stings  of  snakes,  taken  either 
fresh  or  dried,  in  doses  of  two  drachmae,  mixed  with  rue  and 
pepper  in  six  cyathi  of  wine.  The  odour,  too,  of  lysima- 
chia53  puts  serpents  to  flight. 

Chelidonia34  is  also  given  in  wine  to  persons  who  have  been 
stung ;  and  betony  in  particular  is  used  as  an  external  appli- 
cation to  the  wound,  a  plant  the  virtues  of  which  are  so  ex- 
traordinary, it  is  said,  that  if  a  circle  of  it  is  traced  around  a 
serpent,  it  will  lash  itself  to  death35  with  its  tail.  The  seed 
of  this  plant  is  also  administered  in  such  cases,  in  doses  of  one 
denarius  to  three  cyathi  of  wine  ;  or  else  it  is  dried  and  pow- 
dered, and  applied  to  the  wound,  in  the  proportion  of  three 
denarii  of  powder  to  one  sextarius  of  water. 

Cantabrica,  dittany,  and  aristolochia,  are  also  similarly  used, 
one  drachma  of  the  root  of  this  last  plant  being  taken  every 
now  and  then  in  a  semisextarius  of  wine.  It  is  very  useful 
too,  rubbed  in  with  vinegar,  and  the  same  is  the  case,  also, 
with  plistolochia  :36  indeed  it  will  be  quite  sufficient  to  suspend 
this  last  over  the  hearth,  to  make  all  serpents  leave  the  house. 

CHAP.  56.  (9.) — THE  AEGEMONIA  :    FOUE  BEMEDIES. 

The  argemonia,37  too,  is  remedial  in  such  cases  ;  the  root  of 
it  being  taken,  in  doses  of  one  denarius,  in  three  cyathi  of 
wine.  It  will  be  as  well,  however,  to  enter  into  some  further 
details  in  reference  to  this  plant  and  others,  which  I  shall  have 
occasion  next  to  mention ;  it  being  my  intention  first  to  describe, 
under  each  head,  those  plants  which  are  the  most  efficacious 
for  the  treatment  of  the  affection  under  consideration. 

The  argemonia  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  anemone,  but 
divided38  like  those  of  parsley  :  the  head  grows  upon  a  slender 
stem  resembling  that  of  the  wild  poppy,  and  the  root  is  also 

33  See  c.  35  of  this  Book.  34  See  c.  50  of  this  Book. 

35  See  B.  xvi.  c.  24. 

86  See  c.  54  of  this  Book.  As  Fee  remarks,  these  asserted  remedies  for 
the  stings  of  serpents  are  not  deserving  of  discussion. 

37  The  Papaver  argemone  of  Linnaeus,  the  Bough  poppy.     It  is  a  native 
of  France,  and  many  other  parts  of  Europe. 

38  This,  Fee  remarks,  is  not  stated  by  Dioscorides,  whose  description  is 
more  correct. 


very  similar  to  that  of  the  same  plant.  The  juice  is  of  a 
saffron  colour,  acrid  and  pungent:  the  plant  is  commonly 
found  in  the  fields  of  this  country.  Among  us  there  are  three*9 
varieties  of  it  distinguished,  the » one  being  the  most  highly 
approved  of,  the  root  of  which  smells40  like  frankincense.*1 


Agaric42  is  found  growing  in  the  form  of  a  fungus  of  a  white 
colour,  upon  the  trees  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Bosporus.  It  is 
administered  in  doses  of  four  oboli,  beaten  up  in  two  cyathi  of 
oxymel.  The  kind  that  grows  in  Galatia  is  generally  looked 
upon  as  not  so  efficacious.  The  male43  agaric  is  firmer  than 
the  other,  and  more  bitter ;  it  is  productive  too  of  head- ache. 
The  female  plant  is  of  a  looser  texture ;  it  has  a  sweet  taste  at 
first,  which  speedily  changes  into  a  bitter  flavour. 


Of  the  echios  there  are  two  kinds;  one44  of  which  resembles 
pennyroyal  in  appearance,  and  has  a  concave  leaf.  It  is  ad- 
ministered, in  doses  of  two  drachmae,  in  four  cyathi  of  wine. 
The  other45  kind  is  distinguished  by  a  prickly  down,  and  bears 
small  heads  resembling  those  of  vipers :  it  is  usually  taken  in 
wine  and  vinegar.  Some  persons  give  the  name  of  "  echios 
personata  "48  to  a  kind  of  echios  with  larger  leaves  than  the 
others,  and  burrs  of  considerable  size,  resembling  that  of  the 
lappa.47  The  root  of  this  plant  is  boiled  and  administered  in 

39  It  is  supposed  by  commentators  that  he  is  in  error  here,  and  that  this 
description  applies  to  the  Lappa  banaria,  mentioned  in  B.  xxiv.  c.  116. 

40  The  root  of  the  Papaver  argemone  has  no  such  smell. 

41  See  B.  xxi.  c.  94,  B.  xxiv.  c.  116,  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  59. 

42  The  Boletus  agaricum  of  Aiton,  or  White  agaric.      It  is  a  strong 
purgative,  but  is  rarely  used  for  that  purpose. 

43  This  distinction  into  male  and  female    is    no    longer    recognized, 
though  it  continued  to  be  so  till  within  the  last  century. 

44  Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Saponaria  ocimoides.     Fee  thinks 
it  may  have  possibly  been  some  kind  of  sage,  or  else  a  variety  of  the  La- 
vendula  stcechas  of  Linnaeus,  French  lavender.      Littre  gives  the  Silene 
Gallica  of  Linnaeus,  the  Gallic  catchfly. 

45  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Pseudanchusa,  Echis,  or  Doris  of  B.  xxii. 
c.  24,  the  Anchusa  Italica  of  Linnaeus.     Littre  gives  the  Echium  rubrum 
of  Linnaeus. 

46  The  Arctium  lappa  of  Linnfeus,  probably,  our  Great  clot-burr.     See 
B.  xxi.  c.  51.  *7  See  B.  xxi.  c.  64. 

Chap.  59.]  HIEBABOTANE.  121 

Henbane,  pounded  with  the  leaves  on,  is  taken  in  wine,  for 
the  sting  of  the  asp  in  particular. 



But  among  the  Romans  there  is  no  plant  that  enjoys  a  more 
extended  renown  than  hierabotane,48  known  to  some  persons 
as  "  peristereon,"49  and  among  us  more  generally  as  "  verbe- 
naca."50  It  is  this  plant  that  we  have  already51  mentioned  as 
being  borne  in  the  hands  of  envoys  when  treating  with  the 
enemy,  with  this  that  the  table  of  Jupiter  is  cleansed,52  with 
this  that  houses  are  purified  and  due  expiation  made.  There 
are  two  varieties  of  it :  the  one  that  is  thickly  covered  with 
leaves53  is  thought  to  be  the  female  plant ;  that  with  fewer 
leaves,54  the  male.  Both  kinds  have  numerous  thin  branches, 
a  cubit  in  length,  and  of  an  angular  form.  The  leaves  are 
smaller  than  those  of  the  quercus,  and  narrower,  with  larger 
indentations.  The  flower  is  of  a  grey  colour,  and  the  root 
is  long  and  thin.  This  plant  is  to  be  found  growing  every- 
where, in  level  humid  localities.  Some  persons  make  no 
distinction  between  these  two  varieties,  and  look  upon  them  as 
identical,  from  the  circumstance  of  their  being  productive  of 
precisely  similar  effects. 

The  people  in  the  Gallic  provinces  make  use  of  them  both  for 
soothsaying  purposes,  and  for  the  prediction  of  future  events  ; 
but  it  is  the  magicians  more  particularly  that  give  utterance  to 
such  ridiculous  follies  in  reference  to  this  plant.  Persons,  they 
tell  us,  if  they  rub  themselves  with  it  will  be  sure  to  gain  the 
object  of  their  desires  ;  and  they  assure  us  that  it  keeps  away 
fevers,  conciliates  friendship,  and  is  a  cure  for  every  possible 
disease ;  they  say,  too,  that  it  must  be  gathered  about  the 
rising  of  the  Dog-star — but  so  as  not  to  be  shone  upon  by  sun 
or  moon — and  that  honey-combs  and  honey  must  be  first  pre- 
sented to  the  earth  by  way  of  expiation.  They  tell  us  also 

48  "Holy  plant."  49  "_ Pigeon  plant." 

so  our  u  vervain."  It  was  much  used  in  philtres,  and  was  as  highly 
esteemed  as  the  mistletoe  by  the  people  of  Gaul.  It  is  no  longer  used  in 
medicine.  51  In  B.  xxii.  c.  3. 

52  On  the  occasion  of  the  Feasts  of  Jupiter  in  the  Capitol,  prepared  by 
the  Septemviri. 

33  The  Verbena  supina  of  Linnaeus.  Recumbent  vervain. 

54  The  Verbena  officinalis  of  Linnaeus,  Vervain  or  holy  plant. 


that  a  circle  must  first  be  traced  around  it  with  iron ;  after 
which  it  must  be  taken  up  with  the  left  hand,  and  raised  aloft, 
care  being  taken  to  dry  the  leaves,  stem,  and  root,  separately 
in  the  shade.  To  these  statements  they  add,  that  if  the  ban- 
queting couch  is  sprinkled  with  water  in  which  it  has  been 
steeped,  merriment  and  hilarity  will  be  greatly  promoted 

As  a  remedy  for  the  stings  of  serpents,  this  plant  is  bruised 
in  wine. 


There  is  a  plant  very  similar  in  appearance  to  verbascum,55 
so  much  so,  indeed,  as  to  be  frequently  gathered  for  it  by  mis- 
take. The  leaves,56  however,  are  not  so  white,  the  stems  are 
more  numerous,  and  the  flower  is  of  a  yellow  colour.  Thrown 
upon  the  ground,  this  plant  attracts  black  beetles57  to  it,  whence 
its  Roman  appellation  "  blattaria." 


Lemonium68  furnishes  a  milky  juice,  which  thickens  like 
gum.  It  grows  in  moist,  watery  localities,  and  is  generally 
administered,  in  doses  of  one  denarius,  in  wine. 


There  is  no  one  to  whom  quinquefolium59  is  unknown,  being 
recommended  by  a  sort  of  strawberry60  which  it  bears  :  The 
Greeks  give  it  the  name  of  pentapetes,61  pentaphyllon,61  and 
chamaezelon.62  The  root,  when  taken  up,  is  red;  but  as  it 

65  See  c.  73  of  this  Book. 

56  Mostly  identified  with  the  third  Phlomos,  mentioned  in  c.  74  of 
this  Book.  Littre  gives  as  its  synonym  the  Phlomis  fruticosa  of  Linnaeus, 
Jerusalem  sage,  or  tree-sage,  57  "  Blattse." 

6s  Not  the  "  Limonion"  of  B.  xx.  c.  28,  as  the  Statice  limonium  emits 
no  juice.  Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Scolymos  or  Limonia  of  B. 
xxii.  c.  43 ;  but  Fee  is  inclined  to  think  that  Pliny  is  speaking  of  the 
Atractylis  gummifera,  but  has  made  a  mistake  in  the  name. 

sa  Or  "  five-leaved."  Most  probably  the  Potentilla  reptans  of  Linnseus, 
our  Cinquefoil,  or  Five-leaved  grass.  Sprengei,  however,  identifies  it  with 
the  Tormentilla  reptans  of  Linnaeus,  the  Tormentil ;  and  other  authorities 
with  the  Potentilla  rupestris  of  Linnaeus. 

50  Its  fruit  is  dry,  and  bears  no  resemblance  to  the  strawberry. 

6i  «  Five-leaved."  62  "  Creeping  on  the' ground." 

Chap.  64.]  THE    DAUCUS,  123 

dries  it  becomes  black  and  angular.  Its  name  is  derived  from 
the  number  of  its  leaves :  it  puts  forth  and  withers  with  the 
leaves  of  the  vine.  This  plant  also  is  employed  in  the  purifica- 
tion of  houses. 


The  root,  too,  of  the  plant  known  as  the  sparganion,63  is 
taken  in  white  wine,  as  a  remedy  for  the  stings  of  serpents. 



Petronius  Diodotus  has  distinguished  four  kinds  of  daucus, 
which  it  would  be  useless  here  to  describe,  the  varieties  being 
in  reality  but  two64  in  number.  The  most  esteemed  kind  is  that 
of  Crete,65  the  next  best  being  the  produce  of  Achaia,  and  of 
all  dry  localities.  It  resembles  fennel  in  appearance,  only 
that  its  leaves  are  whiter,  more  diminutive,  and  hairy  on  the 
surface.  The  stem  is  upright,  and  a  foot  in  length,  and  the  root 
has  a  remarkably  pleasant  taste  and  smell.  This  kind  grows 
in  stony  localities  with  a  southern  aspect. 

The  inferior  sorts  are  found  growing  everywhere,  upon  de- 
clivities for  instance,  and  in  the  hedges  of  fields,  but  always  in 
a  rich  soil.  The  leaves  are  like  those  of  coriander,66  the  stem 
being  a  cubit  in  length,  the  heads  round,  often  three  or  more  in 
number,  and  the  root  ligneous,  and  good  for  nothing  when 
dry.  The  seed  of  this  kind  is  like  that  of  cummin,  while  that 
of  the  first  kind  bears  a  resemblance  to  millet ;  in  all  cases 
it  is  white,  acrid,  hot,  and  odoriferous.  The  seed  of  the 
second  kind  has  more  active  properties  than  that  of  the  first ; 
for  which  reason  it  should  be  used  more  sparingly. 

If  it  is   considered  really   desirable  to  recognize  a  third 

63  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Sparganium  ramosura  of  Linnaeus,  or 
Branchy  burr-reed.     Littre  gives  the  Butonus  umbellatus  of  linnaeus,  the 
Flowering  rush,  or  Water  gladiole. 

64  Fee  remarks,  that  the  account  given  by  Pliny  has  not  the  same  pre- 
cision as  that  of  Dioscorides,  who  describes  three  varieties  of  the  Daucus. 

65  Fee  is  inclined  to  identify  the  Daucus  of  Crete  and  Achaia  with  the 
Daucus  Creticus  of  Fuchsius,  the  Athamanta  annua  of  Linnaeus.     Des- 
fontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Athamanta  Cretensis  of  Linnaeus. 

66  This  kind  is  identified  by  Fee  with  the  Seseli  ammoides  of  Linnaeus, 
and  by  Littre  with  the  Ammi  majus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Common  or  Greater 
bishop's  weed. 


variety  of  the  daucus,  there  is  a  plant67  of  this  nature  very 
similar  to  the  staphy linos,  known  as  the  "  pastinaca68  erratica," 
with  an  oblong  seed  and  a  sweet  root.  Quadrupeds  will  touch 
none  of  these  plants,  either  in  winter  or  in  summer,  except 
indeed,  after  abortion.69  The  seed  of  the  various  kinds  is  used, 
with  the  exception  of  that  of  Crete,  in  which  case  it  is  the 
root  that  is  employed  ;  this  root  being  particularly  useful  for  the 
stings  of  serpents.  The  proper  dose  is  one  drachma,  taken  in 
wine.  It  is  administered  also  to  cattle  when  stung  by  those 

CHAP.  65. THE    THER10NARCA  '.    TWO    REMEDIES. 

The  therionarca,  altogether  a  different  plant  from  that  of 
the  Magi,70  grows  in  our  own  climates,  and  is  a  branchy  plant, 
with  greenish  leaves,  and  a  rose-coloured  flower.  It  has  a 
deadly  effect  upon  serpents,  and  the  very  contact  of  it  is  suf- 
ficient to  benumb71  a  wild  beast,  of  whatever  kind  it  be. 


The  persolata,72  a  plant  known  to  every  one,  and  called 
"  arcion"  by  the  Greeks,  has  a  leaf,  larger,  thicker,  more 
swarthy,  and  more  hairy  than  that  of  the  gourd  even,  with  a 
large  white  root.  This  plant  also  is  taken,  in  doses  of  two 
denarii,  in  wine. 

67  Identified  by  Sprengel  with  the  Daucus  Mauritanicus,  and  by  Brotero 
and  Desfontaines  with  the  Daucus  carota,  var.  a,  our  Common  carrot.  Fee 
seems  inclined  to  identify  it  with  the  Athamanta  cervaria  of  Linnseus, 
Mountain  carrot,  or  Broad-leaved  spignel.  The  account  given  by  Pliny 
is,  however,  a  mass  of  confusion. 

es  Or  "  wild  parsnip."     See  B.  xix.  c.  27. 

69  For  the  purpose  of  expelling  the  dead  foetus,  according  to  Dioscorides, 
B.  iii.  c.  83. 

70  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  102.     The  plant  here  spoken  of  has  not  been  identified, 
but  the  Epilobium  angustifolium,  montanum,  tetragonum,  &c.,  varieties  of 
the  Willow-herb,  have  been  suggested.     They  are  destitute,  however,  of 
all  poisonous  qualities. 

71  Hence  its  name — "  Benumbing  wild  beasts." 

72  Fee  thinks  that  there  is  an  error  in  the  name,  and  that  it  is  the  "  per- 
sonata"  that  is  here  spoken  of,  the  plant   already  mentioned  in  c.  58  of 
this  Book.     Hardouin  identifies  it  with  the  Tussilago  petasites — the  Butter- 
burr,  according  to  Nemnich — but  apparently  without  any  sufficient  au- 

Chap.   68.]  THE    CYCLAMItfOS    CISSANTHEMOS.  125 


So  too,  the  root  of  cyclaminos73  is  good  for  injuries  inflicted 
by  serpents  of  all  kinds.  It  has  leaves  smaller  than  those  of 
ivy,  thinner,  more  swarthy,  destitute  of  angles,  and  covered 
with  whitish  spots.  The  stem  is  thin  and  hollow,  the  flowers 
of  a  purple  colour,  and  the  root  large  and  covered  with  a 
black  rind ;  so  much  so,  in  fact,  that  it  might  almost  be  taken 
for  the  root  of  rape.  This  plant  grows  in  umbrageous  local- 
ities, and  by  the  people  of  our  country  is  known  as  the  "tuber 
terrae."74  It  ought  to  be  grown  in  every  house,  if  there  is  any 
truth  in  the  assertion  that  wherever  it  grows,  noxious  spells 
can  have  no  effect.  This  plant  is  also  what  is  called  an 
"  amulet ;"  and  taken  in  wine,  they  say,  it  produces  all  the 
symptoms  and  appearances  of  intoxication.  The  root  is  dried, 
cut  in  pieces,  like  the  squill,  and  put  away  for  keeping.  When 
wanted,  a  decoction  is  made  of  it,  of  the  consistency  of  honey. 
Still,  however,  it  has  some  deleterious75  properties ;  and  a 
pregnant  woman,  it  is  said,  if  she  passes  over  the  root  of  it, 
will  be  sure  to  miscarry. 


There  is  also  another  kind  of  cyclaminos,  known  by  the  ad- 
ditional name  of  "  cissanthemos  ;"76  the  stems  of  it,  which  are 
jointed,  are  good  for  nothing.  It  is  altogether  different  from 
the  preceding  plant,  and  entwines  around  the  trunks  of  trees. 
It  bears  a  berry  similar  to  that  of  the  ivy,  but  soft ;  and  the 
flower  is  white  and  pleasing  to  the  sight.  The  root  is  never 
used.  The  berries  are  the  only  part  of  it  in  use, 'being  of  an 

73  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Cyclamen  hederaefolium  of  Alton,  the  Ivy- 
leaved  sow-bread  ;  Littre  with  the  Cyclamen  Grsecum  of  Lamarck. 

74  "  Tuberosity  of  the  earth." 

75  *'  Suum  venenum  ei  est."     Gerard  seems  to  have  had  a  worse  opinion 
of  it  than  our  author ;  for  he  states  in  his  Herbal,  p.  845,  that  he  had  ex- 
perienced great  misfortunes  owing  to  his  imprudence  in  having  cultivated 
Cyclamen  in  his  garden. 

76  « Ivy-flowered."     It  resembles  the  other  plant  in  nothing  but  the 
name.     Fee  is  inclined,  with  Desfontaines,  to  identify  it  with  the  Lonicera 
caprifolium  of  Linnaeus,  the  Italian  honeysuckle,  though  that  plant  bears 
no  resemblance  in  either  leaf  or  flower  to  the  ivy.      The  Lonicera  pericly- 
menum  of  Linn  feus,  the  Common  woodbine  or  honeysuckle,  has  been  also 
suggested,  as  well  as  the  Brvonia  alba,  Solanum  dulcamara,  and  Cucubalus 


acrid,  viscous  taste.     They  are  dried  in  the  shade,  after  which 
they  are  pounded  and  divided  into  lozenges. 


A  third  kind77  of  cyclaminos  has  also  been  shown  to  me,  the 
additional  name  of  which  is  "  chamsecissos."  It  consists  of 
but  a  single  leaf,  with  a  branchy  root,  formerly  employed  for 
killing  fish. 


But  in  the  very  first  rank  among  these  plants,  stands  peuceda- 
num,78  the  most  esteemed  kind  of  which  is  that  of  Arcadia,  the 
next  best  being  that  of  Samothrace.  The  stem  resembles  that  of 
fennel,  is  thin  and  long,  covered  with  leaves  close  to  the  ground, 
and  terminating  in  a  thick  black  juicy  root,  with  a  powerful  smell. 
It  grows  on  umbrageous  mountains,  and  is  taken  up  at  the  end 
of  autumn.  The  largest  and  tenderest  roots  are  the  most  es- 
teemed ;  they  are  cut  with  bone-knives  into  slips  four  fingers 
in  length,  and  left  to  shed  their  juice79  in  the  shade ;  the  persons 
employed  taking  the  precaution  of  rubbing  the  head  and  nos- 
trils with  rose- oil,  as  a  preservative  against  vertigo. 

There  is  also  another  kind  of  juice,  which  adheres  to  the 
stems,  and  exudes  from  incisions  made  therein.  It  is  con- 
sidered best  when  it  has  arrived  at  the  consistency  of  honey  : 
the  colour  of  it  is  red,  and  it  has  a  strong  but  agreeable  smell, 
and  a  hot,  acrid  taste.  This  juice,  as  well  as  the  root  and  a 
decoction  of  it,  enters  into  the  composition  of  numerous  medica- 
ments, but  the  juice  has  the  most  powerful  properties  of 
the  two.  Diluted  with  bitter  almonds  or  rue,  it  is  taken  in 
drink  as  a  remedy  for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents.  Eubbed 
upon  the  body  with  oil,  it  is  a  preservative  against  the  attacks 
of  those  reptiles. 

77  According  to  Brotero,  it  is  the  Parnassia  palustris  of  Tournefort,  an 
opinion  with  which  Fee  is  inclined  to  agree.     Sprengel  considers  it  to  be 
the  same  as  the  Convallaria  bifolia  of  Linnasus,  our  Small  lily  of  the  valley, 
and  identifies  it  with  the  one-leafed  Ceratia  of  B.  xxvi.   c.   34.      Littre 
names  the  Antirrhinum  asarina  of  Linnaeus,  the  Bastard  asarum. 

78  The  Peucedanum  officinale  of  Linnaeus,  Sulphur- wort,  or  Hog's  fennel. 
It  receives  its  name  from  a  fancied  resemblance  between  its  fruit  and  that 
of  the  "  Peuce,"  or  pitch-tree. 

79  This  juice,  Fee  remarks,  is  no  longer  known. 

Chap.  74.]  THE  PHLOMIS.  127 

CHAP.  71.    (10.) EBTJLTJM  :    SIX    REMEDIES. 

A  fumigation,  too,  of  ebulum,80  a  plant  known  to  every  one, 
will  put  serpents  to  flight. 


The  root  of  polemonia,81  even  worn  as  an  amulet  only,  is 
particularly  useful  for  repelling  the  attacks  of  scorpions,  as  also 
the  phalangium  and  other  small  insects  of  a  venomous  nature. 
For  injuries  inflicted  by  the  scorpion,  aristolochia82  is  also  used, 
or  agaric,  in  doses  of  four  oboli  to  four  cyathi  of  wine.  For 
the  bite  of  the  phalangium,  vervain  is  employed,  in  combina- 
tion with  wine  or  oxy crate :  cinquefoil,  too,  aod  daucus,  are 
used  for  a  similar  purpose. 


Verbascum  has  the  name  of  "  phlomos"  with  the  Greeks. 
Of  this  plant  there  are  two  principal  kinds ;  the  white,83  which 
is  considered  to  be  the  male,  and  the  black,84  thought  to  be  the 
female.  There  is  a  third85  kind,  also,  which  is  only  found  in 
the  woods.  The  leaves  of  these  plants  are  larger  than  those  of 
the  cabbage,  and  have  a  hairy  surface:  the  stem  is  upright,  and 
more  than  a  cubit  in  height,  and  the  seed  black,  and  never 
used.  The  root  is  single,  and  about  the  thickness  of  the  finger. 
The  two  principal  kinds  are  found  growing  in  champaign  locali- 
ties. The  wild  verbascum  has  leaves  like  those  of  elelisphacus,86 
but  of  an  elongated  form ;  the  branches  are  ligneous. 

CHAP.    74. THE    PHLOMIS  :    ONE    REMEDY.       THE     LYCHNIT1S      OR 


There  are  also  two87  varieties  of  the  phlomis,  hairy  plants, 

80  Or  Wall-wort.     See  B.  xxiv.  c.  35.  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  49. 

81  See  c.  28  of  this  Book.  82  See  c.  54  of  this  Book. 

83  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Verbascum  thapsus  of  Linnaeus,  Great 
mullein,  High-taper,  or  Cow's  lung-wort. 

84  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Verbascum  sinuatum  of  Linnaeus.     Des- 
fontaines  considers  this  to  be  the  male  plant  of  Pliny,   and  the  V.  thapsus 
to  be  the  female. 

85  Fee  considers  this  to  be  the  same  as  the  Blattaria  mentioned  in  c.  60, 
and  identifies  it  with  the  Verbascum  phlomoides  of  Linnaeus.     Sprengel 
and  Desfontaines  consider  it  to  be  the  Phlomis  lychnitiu  of  Linnaeus.  Littre 
gives  the  Phlomis  fruticosa  of  Linnaeus,  the  Jerusalem  sage,  or  Tree  sage. 

86  See  B.  xxii.  c  71. 

67  Fee  identifies  these  two  kinds  with  the  Phlomis  fruticosa  of  Linnaeus  ; 


with  rounded  leaves,  and  but  little  elevated  above  the  surface 
of  the  earth.  A  third  kind,  again,  is  known  as  the  "  lychnitis"88 
by  some  persons,  and  as  the  "  thryallis"  by  others  :  it  has  three 
leaves  only,  or  four  at  the  very  utmost,  thick  and  unctuous, 
and  well  adapted  for  making  wicks  for  lamps.  The  leaves  of 
the  phlomos  which  we  have  mentioned  as  the  female  plant,  if 
wrapped  about  figs,  will  preserve  them  most  efficiently  from 
decay,  it  is  said.  It  seems  little  better  than  a  loss  of  time  to 
give  the  distinguishing  characteristics  of  these  three89  kinds, 
the  effects  of  them  all  being  precisely  the  same. 

For  injuries  inflicted  by  scorpions,  an  infusion  of  the  root 
is  taken,  with  rue,  in  water.  Its  bitterness  is  intense,  but  it 
is  quite  as  efficacious  as  the  plants  already  mentioned. 


The  thelyphonon90  is  a  plant  known  as  the  "scorpio"  to  some, 
from  the  peculiar  form  of  its  roots,  the  very  touch  of  which 
kills91  the  scorpion:  hence  it  is  that  it  is  taken  in  drink  for  stings 
inflicted  by  those  reptiles.  If  a  dead  scorpion  is  rubbed  with 
white  hellebore,  it  will  come  to  life,  they  say.  The  thelypho- 
non is  fatal  to  all  quadrupeds,  on  the  application  of  the  root  to 
the  genitals.  The  leaf  too,  which  bears  a  resemblance  to  that 
of  cyclaminos,  is  productive  of  a  similar  effect,  in  the  course  of 
the  same  day.  It  is  a  jointed  plant,  and  is  found  growing  in 
unbrageous  localities.  Juice  of  betony  or  of  plantago  is  a 
preservative  against  the  venom  of  the  scorpion. 

CHAP.    76. THE    PHRYNION,    NEURAS,    OR    POTERION  ;      ONE 


Frogs,  too,  have  their  venom,  the  bramble- frog92  in  particular, 

Spvengel  and  Desfontaines  consider  the  second  kind  to  be  the  Phlomis 
Italica  of  Smith ;  on  insufficient  grounds,  Fee  thinks.  Littre  mentions 
the  Sideritis  Romana  and  S.  elegans  of  Linnaeus. 

88  The   "  Lamp  plant."      It  is  mostly  identified  with  the  Verbascum 
lychnitis  of  Linnaeus,  the  "White  mullein.     Fee  is  somewhat  doubtful  on 
the  point.     It  is  doubtful  whether  it  is  not  the  same  as  the  Thryallis,  men- 
tioned in  B.  xxi.  c.  61.    Littre  identifies  it  with  the  Phlomis  lychnitis. 

89  In  the  last  paragraph  he  is  speaking  of  the  Phlomos,  here  he  evidently 
reverts  to  the  Phlomis. 

so  Qr  «  Female  killer."     See  B.  xxvii.  c.  2. 

91  Dioscorides  states,   somewhat  more  rationally,  that  this  plant  strikes 
the  scorpion  with  torpor,  and  that  the  contact  of  hellebore  revives  it. 

92  "Rubetis."     A  kind  of  toad,  probably.     See  B.  viii.  c.  48,  B.  xi.  c. 
16,  and  B.  xxxii.  c.  18. 

Chap.  77.]  THE  ALISMA.  129 

and  I  myself  have  seen  the  Psylli,  in  their  exhibitions, 
irritate  them  by  placing  them  upon  flat  vessels  made  red  hot,93 
their  bite  being  fatal  more  instantaneously  than  the  sting  even 
of  the  asp.  One  remedy  for  their  poison  is  the  phrynion,94 
taken  in  wine,  which  has  also  the  additional  names  of  "neuras"95 
and  "  poterion :"  it  bears  a  small  flower,  and  has  numerous 
fibrous  roots,  with  an  agreeable  smell. 



Similar,  too,  are  the  properties  of  the  alisma,96  known  to  some 
persons  as  the  "  damasonion,"  and  as  the  "  lyron  "  to  others. 
The  leaves  of  it  would  be  exactly  those  of  the  plantago,  were  it 
not  that  they  are  narrower,  more  jagged  at  the  edges,  and 
bent  downwards  in  a  greater  degree.  In  other  respects,  they 
present  the  same  veined  appearance  as  those  of  the  plantago. 
This  plant  has  a  single  stem,  slender,  a  cubit  in  height,  and 
terminated  by  a  spreading  head. 97  The  roots  of  it  are  nume- 
rous, thin  like  those  of  black  hellebore,  acrid,  unctuous,  and 
odoriferous :  it  is  found  growing  in  watery  localities. 

There  is  another  kind  also,  which  grows  in  the  woods,  of  a 
more  swarthy  colour,  and  with  larger  leaves.  The  root  of 
them  both  is  used  for  injuries  inflicted  by  frogs  and  by  the 
sea-hare,98  in  doses  of  one  drachma  taken  in  wine.  Cycla- 
minos,  too,  is  an  antidote  for  injuries  inflicted  by  the  sea-hare. 

The  bite  of  the  mad  dog  has  certain  venomous  properties, 
as  an  antidote  to  which  we  have  the  cynorrhodos,  of  which 

93  Schneider,  on  Nicander's  Alexiph.  p.  277,  says  that  he  cannot  under- 
stand this  passage.  There  is  little  doubt  that  Sillig  is  right  in  his  con- 
jecture that  it  is  imperfect,  for  the  pith  of  the  narrative,  whatever  it  may 
have  been,  is  evidently  wanting.  The  Psylli  were  said  to  be  proof  against 
all  kinds  of  poisons.  *  See  B.  viii.  c.  38,  and  B.  xi.  c.  30 ;  also  Lucan's 
Pharsalia,  B.  ix.  1.  192,  et  seq. 

04  See  also  B.  xxvii.  c.  97.  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Astragalus  Creticus 
of  Lamarck,  Desfontaines  with  the  Astragalus  poterium. 

95  The  "nerve-plant"  and  the  " drinking-plant,"  apparently. 

96  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Alisma  Parnassifolium  of  Linnajus ;  but 
as  that  plant  is  not  found  in  Greece,  Sibthorp  suggests  the  Alisma  plantago 
of  Linnaeus,  the  Great  water-plantain.      It  has  no  medicinal  properties, 
though  it  was  esteemed  till  very  recent  times  as  curative  of  hydrophobia. 

97  "Capite  thyrsi." 

98  See  B.  ix.  c.  72,  and  B.  xxxii.  c.  3. 

TOL.  T.  K 


we  have  spoken"  elsewhere  already.  The  plantago  is  useful 
for  the  bites  of  all  kinds  of  animals,  either  taken  in  drink  or 
applied  topically  to  the  part  affected.  Betony  is  taken  on 
similar  occasions,  in  old  wine,  unmixed. 


The  name  of  peristereos1  is  given  to  a  plant  with  a  tall  stem, 
covered  with  leaves,  and  throwing  out  other  stems  from  the  top. 
It  is  much  sought  hy  pigeons,  to  which  circumstance  it 
owes  its  name.  Dogs  will  never  bark,  they  say,  at  persons 
who  have  this  plant  about  them. 


Closely  approaching  in  their  nature  to  these  various  kinds  of 
poisons,  are  those  which  have  been  devised  by  man  for  his  own 
destruction.  In  the  number  of  antidotes  to  all  these  artificial 
poisons  as  well  as  to  the  spells  of  sorcery,  the  very  first  place 
must  be  accorded  to  the  moly2  of  Homer ;  next  to  which  come 
the  mithridatia,3  scordotis,4  and  centaury.  The  seed  of  betony 
carries  off  all  kinds  of  noxious  substances  by  stool ;  being  taken 
for  the  purpose  in  honied  wine  or  raisin  wine,  or  else  pulverized, 
and  taken,  in  doses  of  one  drachma,  in  four  cyathi  of  old  wine  : 
in  this  last  case,  however,  the  patient  must  bring  it  off  the 
stomach  by  vomit  and  then  repeat  the  dose.  Persons  who 
accustom  themselves  to  take  this  plant  daily,  will  never  ex- 
perience any  injury,  they  say,  from  substances  of  a  poisonous 

When  a  person  has  taken  poison,  one  most  powerful  remedy 
is  aristolochia,5  taken  in  the  same  proportions  as  those  used  for 
injuries  inflicted  by  serpents.6  The  juice,  too,  of  cinquefoil  is 
given  for  a  similar  purpose ;  and  in  both  cases,  after  the  patient 
has  vomited,  agaric  is  administered,  in  doses  of  one  denarius,  in 
three  cyathi  of  hydromel. 

99  In  c.  6  of  this  Book. 

1  "Pigeon-plant."  The  same  as  Vervain,  already  described  in  c.  59  of 
this  Book.  2  See  c.  8  of  this  Book. 

3  By    "Mithridatia.  "  he  probably  means  the  antidotes  attributed  to 
Mithridates  in  c,  3  of  this  Book,  and  in  B.  xxix.  c.  8,  and  not  the  plant 
previously  mentioned  in  c.  26. 

4  See  c..  27  of  this  Book.  5  See  c.  54  of  this  Book. 
e  See  c.  55. 

Chap.  82.]  THE   PEBICABPUM:.  131 


The  name  of  antirrhinum7  .or  anarrhinon  is  given  to  the 
lychnis  agria,8  a  plant  which  resembles  flax  in  appearance,  is 
destitute  of  root,  has  a  flower  like  that  of  the  hyacinth,  and 
a  seed  similar  in  form  to  the  muzzle  of  a  calf.  According  to 
what  the  magicians  say,  persons  who  rub  themselves  with  this 
plant  improve  their  personal  appearance  thereby ;  and  they 
may  ensure  themselves  against  all  noxious  substances  and 
poisons,  by  wearing  it  as  a  bracelet. 

CHAP.   81. EUCLEA:    ONE    BEMEDY. 

The  same  is  the  case,  too,  with  the  plant  to  which  they  give 
the  name  of  "  euclea,"9  and  which,  they  tell  us,  rubbed  upon 
the  person,  will  ensure  a  more  extended  consideration.  They 
say,  too,  that  if  a  person  carries  artemisia10  about  him,  he  will 
be  ensured  against  all  noxious  drugs,  the  attacks  of  wild  beasts 
of  every  kind,  and  sunstroke  even.  This  last  plant  is  taken 
also  in  wine,  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  opium.  Used  as  an 
amulet,  or  taken  in  drink,  it  is  said  to  be  particularly  effica- 
cious for  injuries  inflicted  by  frogs. 



The  pericarpum  is  a  kind  of  bulbous  plant.  There  are  two 
varieties  of  it ;  one  with  a  red11  outer  coat,  and  the  other,12 

7  Generally  identified  with  the  Antirrhinum   Orontium   of    Linnaeus, 
Small  toad-flax,  Calf's  snout,  or  Lesser  wild  snapdragon.      Desfontaines 
mentions  the  Antirrhinum  purpureum,  and  Littre  the  A.  majus  of  Lin- 
naeus, the  Common  snapdragon,  or  Greater  calf's  snout. 

8  "  Wild  lychnis." 

9  Theophrastus  says,  B.  ix.  c.  21,  speaking  of  the  last-mentioned  plant, 
"  The   same   too,    with  reference  to   glory   and   consideration."      Pliny, 
singularly  enough,  has  mistaken  the  Greek  word  "eucleia"  (glory)  for 
the  name  of  a  plant,  and  has  fabricated  one  accordingly :  a  similar  blunder 
to  that  made  by  him  with  reference  to  "  hippace,"  in  c.  44  of  this  Book. 

10  See  c.  36  of  this  Book. 

11  Fee  is  inclined  to  identify  it  with  the  Bulbine  of  B.  xx.  c.  41,  pro- 
bably the  Hyacinthus  botryoides  of  Linnaeus,  the  Blue  grape  hyacinth. 
Brotero  and  Desfontaines  name  the  Hyacinthus  comosus,  the  Purple  grnpe 
hyacinth,     Littre  mentions  the  Ornithogalum  nutans  of  Linnaeus,  the  May 
star  of  Bethlehem. 

12  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Bulbus  vomitorius  or  Bulb  emetic  of  B.  xx. 

132  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXV. 

similar  in  appearance  to  the  black  poppy,  and  possessed  of 
greater  virtues  than  the  first.  They  are  both,  however,  of  a 
warming  nature,  for  which  reason  they  are  administered  to 
persons  who  have  taken  hemlock,  a  poison  for  which  frankin- 
cense and  panaces  are  used,  chironion13  in  particular.  This 
last,  too,  is  given  in  cases  of  poisoning  by  fungi. 

CHAP.     83.    (11.) BEMEDIES    FOE    DISEASES    OF    THE    HEAD. 


But  we  shall  now  proceed  to  point  out  the  various  classes 
of  remedies  for  the,  several  parts  of  the  body,  and  the  maladies 
to  which  those  parts  are  subject,  beginning  in  the  first  place 
with  the  head. 

The  root  of  nymphsea  heraclia  u  effects  the  cure  of  alopecy, 
if  they  are  beaten  up  together,15  and  applied.  The  polythrix16 
differs  from,  the  callitrichos17  in  having  white,  rushlike  suckers, 
larger  leaves,  and  more  numerous ;  the  main  stem,18  too,  is 
larger.  This  plant  strengthens  the  hair,  prevents  it  from 
falling  off,  and  makes  it  grow  more  thickly. 


The  same  is  the  case  too  with  the  lingulaca,19  a  plant  that 
grows  in  the  vicinity  of  springs,  and  the  root  of  which  is 
reduced  to  ashes,  and  beaten  up  with  hog's  lard.  Due  care 
must  be  taken,  however,  that  it  is  the  lard  of  a  female,  of  a 
black  colour,  and  one  that  has  never  farrowed.  The  application 
is  rendered  additionally  efficacious,  if  the  ointment  is  applied  in 
the  sun.  Root,  too,  of  cyclaminos  is  employed  in  the  same 

c.  41,  the  same,  in  his  opinion,  with  the  Narcissus  jonquilla.  the  Emetic  jon- 
quil. Sprengel,  however,  would  identify  the  Bulbus  vomitorius  with  either 
the  Narcissus  orientalis  or  the  Pancratium  Illyricum;  and  Sibthorp  con- 
siders its  synonym  to  be  the  Ornithogalum  stachyoides  of  Alton.  Littre 
gives  the  Muscari  comosum. 

13  See  e.  13  of  this  Book. 

14  See  c.  37  of  this  Book,  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  28. 

15  There  seems  to  be  an  hiatus  here.     From  the  words  of  Dioscorides, 
B,  iii.  c.  138,  it  would  appear  that  pitch  was  the  other  ingredient,  to  be 
beaten  up  with  the  plant. 

16  The  same  as  the  Polytrichos  of  B.  xxii.  c.  30. 

17  In  B.  xxii.  c.  30,  he  makes  them  to  be  the  same  plant,  and  it  is  most 
probable  that  they  may  be  both  referred  to  the  Asplenium  trichomanes  of 
Linnaeus.  18  "  Frutice." 

«  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  108. 

Chap.  87.]  HYSSOP.  133 

manner  for  a  similar  purpose.  A  decoction  of  root  of  helle- 
bore in  oil  or  in  water  is  used  for  the  removal  of  porrigo.  For 
the  cure  of  head-ache,  root  of  all  kinds  of  panaces20  is  used, 
beaten  up  in  oil ;  as  also  aristolochia21  and  iberis,22  this  last  being 
applied  to  the  head  for  an  hour  or  more,  if  the  patient  can 
bear  it  so  long,  care  being  taken  to  bathe  in  the  meanwhile. 
The  daucus,  too,  is  curative  of  head-ache.  Cyclaminos,23  intro- 
duced into  the  nostrils  with  honey,  clears  the  head;  used  in 
the  form  of  a  liniment,  it  heals  ulcers  of  the  head.  Periste- 
reos,24  also,  is  curative  of  diseases  of  the  head. 


The  name  of  "  cacalia"25  or  "  leontice"  is  given  to  a  plant 
with  seed  resembling  small  pearls  in  appearance,  and  hang- 
ing down  between  large  leaves :  it  is  mostly  found  upon 
mountains.  Fifteen  grains  of  this  seed  are  macerated  in  oil, 
and  the  head  is  rubbed  with  the  mixture,  the  contrary  way  to 
the  hair. 


A  sternutatory,  too,  is  prepared  from  the  callitrichos.26  The 
leaves  of  this  plant  are  similar  to  those  of  the  lentil,  and  the 
stems  resemble  fine  rushes  ;  the  root  is  very  diminutive.  It 
grows  in  shady,  moist  localities,  and  has  a  burning  taste  in  the 

CHAP.    87. HYSSOP  :    TEN    REMEDIES. 

Hyssop,27  beaten  up  in  oil,  is  curative  of  phthiriasis  and 

20  See  c.  11  of  this  Book. 

21  See  c.  54  of  this  Book.  22  See  c.  49  of  this  Book. 
23  See  c.  67  of  this  Book.  «*  Or  Vervain. 

25  Sprengel  identified  this  plant  at  first  with  the  Buplevnim  longifolium' 
of  Linnaeus,  the  Long-leaved  hare's  ear,  but  at  a  later  period  with  the 
Mercurialis  tomentosa,  the  Woolly  mercury.     Fee   suggests  the  Cacalia 
petasites  or  albifrons,  though  with  diffidence.    ,Littr6  gives  the  Cacalia  ver- 
bascifoiia  of  Sibthorp. 

26  See  c.  83  of  this  Book ;  also  B.  xxii.  c.  30,  and  B.  xxvii.  c.  111. 

27  There  has  been  much  discussion  on  the  identification  of  the  Hyssopum 
of  the  ancients,  their  descriptions  varying  very  considerably.     It  has  been 
suggested  that  that  of  the  Egyptians  was  the  Origanum  JEgyptianum ;  that 
of  the  Hebrews,  the  Origanum  Syriacum ;  that  of  Dioscorides,  the  Origa- 
num Smyrnaeum;  and  that  of  the  other  Greek  writers,  the  Teucrium  pseudo- 
hyssopus,  or  else  the  Thymbra  verticillata  and  spicata.     Fee  is  inclined  to 
identity  that  here  mentioned  by  Pliny  with  the  Thymbra  spicata  of  Lin- 
naeus,  and  the  Garden  hyssop  of  Dioscorides,  with  the  Hyssopus  officinalis 


prurigo  of  the  head.  The  best  hyssop  is  that  of  Mount 
Taurus  in  Cilicia,  next  to  which  in  quality  is  the  produce  of 
Pamphylia  and  Smyrna.  This  plant  is  injurious  to  the 
stomach :  taken  with  figs,  it  produces  alvine  evacuations,  and 
used  in  combination  with  honey,  it  acts  as  an  emetic.  It  is 
generally  thought  that,  beaten  up  with  honey,  salt,  and  cum- 
min, it  is  curative  of  the  stings  of  serpents. 


The  lonchitis  29  is  not,  as  most  writers  have  imagined,  the 
same  plant  as  the  xiphion30  or  phasganion,  although  the  seed 
of  it  does  bear  a  resemblance  to  the  point  of  a  spear.  The 
lonchitis,  in  fact,  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  leek,  of  a  red- 
dish colour  near  the  root,  and  more  numerous  there  than  on  the 
upper  part  of  the  stem.  It  bears  diminutive  heads,  which  are 
very  similar  to  our  masks  of  comedy,  and  from  which  a  small 
tongue  protrudes  :31  the  roots  of  it  are  remarkably  long.  It 
grows  in  thirsty,  arid  soils. 


The  xiphion32  or  phasganion,  on  the  other  hand,  is  found 
growing  in  humid  localities.  On  first  leaving  the  ground  it 
has  the  appearance  of  a  sword  ;  the  stem  of  it  is  two  cubits  in 
length,  and  the  root  is  fringed  like  a  hazel  nut.33 

This  root  should  always  be  taken  up  before  harvest,  and 
dried  in  the  shade.  The  upper  part  of  it,  pounded  with 
frankincense,  and  mixed  with  an  equal  quantity  of  wine,  ex- 
tracts fractured  bones  of  the  cranium,  purulent  matter  in  all 
parts  of  the  body,  and  bones  of  serpents,34  when  accidentally 

of  Linnaeus.  Littre  states,  however,  that  this  last  is  a  stranger  to  Greece, 
.and  that  M.  Fraas  (Synopsis,  p.  182)  identifies  the  hyssop  of  Dioscorides 
with  the  Origanum  Smyrnseum  or  Syriacum. 

29  Generally  identified  with  the  Serapias  lingua  of  Linnaeus. 

30  The  same,  most  probably,  as  the  Gladiolus  of  B.  xxi.  c.  67.     See  also 
the  next  Chapter  in  thig  JBook. 

31  This  was  a  characteristic  feature  of  the  masks  used   in  the  Roman 

32  See  Note  30  above.     The  medicinal  properties  here  attributed  to  the 
Xiphion,  or  Gladiolus  communis,  our  common  Red  corn-flag,  are  very  doubt- 
ful, as  Fee  remarks. 

33  "With  the  outer  coat  on,  of  course. 

34  Dalechamps  is  probably  right  iu  preferring  the  reading  "  carpentis  " 
to  "  serpentis,"  in  which  case  the  meaning  would  be,  "  or  bones  when 
accidentally  crushed  by  the  wheels  of  vehicles." 

Chap.  90.]  PSYLLION.  135 

trodden  upon  ;  it  is  very  efficacious,  too,  for  poisons.  In  cases 
of  head-ache,  the  head  should  be  rubbed  with  hellebore,  boiled 
and  beaten  up  in  olive  oil,  or  oil  of  roses,  or  else  with  peuce- 
danum  steeped  in  olive  oil  or  rose  oil,  and  vinegar.  This  last 
plant,  made  lukewarm,  is  very  good  also  for  hemicrania36  and 
vertigo.  It  being  of  a  heating  nature,  the  body  is  rubbed  with 
the  root  as  a  sudorific. 


Psyllion,36  cynoi'des,  crystallion,  sicelicon,  or  cynomyia,  has 
a  slender  root,  of  which  no  use  is  made,  and  numerous  thin 
branches,  with  seeds  resembling  those  of  the  bean,  at  the  ex- 
tremities.37 The  leaves  of  it  are  not  unlike  a  dog's  head  in 
shape  ;38  and  the  seed,  which  is  enclosed  in  berries,  bears  a 
resemblance  to  a  flea — whence  its  name  "  psyllion."  This  plant 
is  generally  found  growing  in  vineyards,  is  of  a  cooling  nature, 
and  is  extremely  efficacious  as  a  dispellent.  The  seed  of  it  is 
the  part  made  use  of;  for  head-ache,  it  is  applied  to  the  fore- 
head and  temples  with  rose  oil  and  vinegar,  or  else  with 
oxy crate ;  it  is  used  as  a  liniment  for  other  purposes  also. 
Mixed  in  the  proportion  of  one  acetabulum  to  one  sextarius  of 
water,  it  i»  left  to  coagulate  and  thicken ;  after  which  it  is 
beaten  up,  and  the  thick  solution  is  used  as  a  liniment  for  all 
kinds  of  pains,  abscesses,  and  inflammations. 

Aristolochia  is  used  as  a  remedy  for  wounds  in  the  head  ;  it 
has  the  property,  too,  of  extracting  fractured  bones,  not  only 
from  other  parts  of  the  body,  but  the  cranium  in  particular. 
The  same,  too,  with  plistolochia. 

'Thryselinum39  is  a  plant  not  unlike  parsley ;  the  root  of  it, 
eaten,  carries  off  pituitous  humours  from  the  head. 

35  Or  "meagrim." 

36  Identified  with  the  Plantago  Psyllium  of  Linnaeus,  our  Fleawort, 
Fleaseed,  or  Fleabane. 

37  Nothing,  Fee  says,  can  be  more  ahsurd  than  this  description  of  the 

38  Whence  its  name  "cynoi'des"  and  "cynomyia." 

89  This  plant  has  not  been  identified ;  Wild  water-parsley,  perhaps  a  kind 
of  Sium,  has  heen  suggested. 

136  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXV. 


It  is  generally  thought  that  the  greater  centaury 40  strengthens 
the  sight,  if  the  eyes  are  fomented  with  it  steeped  in  water ; 
and  that  by  employing  the  juice  of  the  smaller  kind,  in  com- 
bination with  honey,  films  and  cloudiness  may  be  dispersed, 
marks  obliterated,  and  small  flies  removed  which  have  got 
into  the  eye.  It  is  thought  also  that  sideritis  is  curative  of 
albugo  in  beasts  of  burden.  As  to  chelidonia,41  it  is  marvel- 
lously good  for  all  the  affections  above  mentioned.  Boot  of 
panaces42  is  applied,  with  polenta,43  to  defluxions  of  the  eyes ; 
and  for  the  purpose  of  keeping  them  down,  henbane- seed  is 
taken,  in  doses  of  one  obolus,  with  an  equal  proportion  of 
opium,  in  wine.  Juice,  too,  of  gentian  is  used  as  a  lini- 
ment, and  it  sometimes  forms  an  ingredient  in  the  more  ac- 
tive eyesalves,44  as  a  substitute  for  meconium.  Euphorbia,45 
applied  in  the  form  of  a  liniment,  improves  the  eyesight, 
and  for  ophthalmia  juice  of  plantago46  is  injected  into  the 

Aristolochia  disperses  films  upon  the  eyes;  and  iberis,47 
attached  to  the  head  with  cinquefoil,  is  curative  of  defluxions 
and  other  diseases  of  the  eyes.  Yerbascum48  is  applied  topi- 
cally to  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  and  vervain  is  used  for  a 
similar  purpose,  with  rose  oil  and  vinegar.  For  the  treat- 
ment of  cataract  and  dimness  of  sight,  cyclaminos  is  reduced 
to  a  pulp  and  divided  into  lozenges.  Juice,  too,  of  peu- 
cedanum,  as  already  mentioned,49  mixed  with  meconium  and  oil 
of  roses,  is  good  for  the  sight,  and  disperses  films  upon  the 
eyes.  Psyllion,60  applied  to  the  forehead,  arrests  defluxions  of 
the  eyes. 

CHAP.  92.  (13.) — THE   ANA&ALLIS,    OR   COBCHORON  ,'    TWO   VARIE- 

The  anagallis  is  called  "  corchoron"51  by  some.     There  are 

40  All  the  plants  here  mentioned  are  of  a  more  or  less  irritating  nature, 
and  would  greatly  imperil  the  sight. 

1  See  c.  50  of  this  Book.  42  See  c.  11  of  this  Book. 

3  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14,  and  B.  xxii.  c.  59,  **>  "  Collyriis." 

5  A  most  dangerous  application,  in  reality. 

6  A  comparatively  harmless,  though  useless  application. 

7  See  c.  49  of  this  Book.  **  See  c.  73  of  this  Book. 
9  In  c.  70  of  this  Book.  50  See  c.  90  of  this  Book. 

51  The  Corchorus  of  B.  xxi.  c.  106,  is  most  probably  altogether  a  differ- 
ent plant. 

Chap.  92.]  THE   ANAGALLIS.  137 

two  kinds  of  it,  the  male52  plant,  with  a  red  blossom,  and  the 
female,53  with  a  blue  flower.  These  plants  do  not  exceed  a 
palm  in  height,  and  have  a  tender  stem,  with  diminutive 
leaves  of  a  rounded  form,  drooping  upon  the  ground.  They 
grow  in  gardens  and  in  spots  covered  with  water,  the  blue 
anagallis  being  the  first  to  blossom.  The  juice54  of  either 
plant,  applied  with  honey,  disperses  films  upon  the  eyes, 
suffusions  of  blood55  in  those  organs  resulting  from  blows,  and 
argema56  with  a  red  tinge :  if  used  in  combination  with  Attic 
honey,  they  are  still  more  efficacious.  The  anagallis  has  the 
effect  also  of  dilating57  the  pupil ;  hence  the  eye  is  anointed 
with  it  before  the  operation  of  couching58  for  cataract.  These  -\ 
plants  are  employed  also  for  diseases  of  the  eyes  in  beasts  of 

The  juice,  injected  into  the  nostrils,  which  are  then  rinsed 
with  wine,  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  the  head  :  it  is  taken  also, 
in  doses  of  one  drachma,  in  wine,  for  wounds  inflicted  by  ser- 
pents. It  is  a  remarkable  fact,  that  cattle  will  refuse  to  touch 
the  female  plant ;  but  if  it  should  so  happen  that,  deceived  by 
the  resemblance — the  flower  being  the  only  distinguishing 
mark — they  have  accidentally  tasted  it,  they  immediately  have 
recourse,  as  a  remedy,  to  the  plant  called  "  asyla,"  59  but  more 
generally  known  among  us  as  "  ferus  oculus."60  Some  persons 
recommend  those  who  gather  it,  to  prelude  by  saluting  it 
before  sunrise,  and  then,  before  uttering  another  word,  to  take 
care  and  extract  the  juice  immediately ;  if  this  is  done,  they 
say,  it  will  be  doubly  efficacious. 

As  to  the  juice  of  euphorbia,  we  have  spoken61  of  its  pro- 
perties at  sufficient  length  already.  In  cases  of  ophthalmia, 

52  Identified  with  the  Anagallis  arvensis  of  Linnaeus,  with  a  red  flower, 
the  Red  pimpernel,  Corn  pimpernel,  or  Shepherd's  weather-glass. 

53  The  Anagallis  caeruleo  flore  of  Tournefort,  the  Blue  pimpernel. 

54  In  reality  they  are  destitute  of  medicinal  properties.      It  is  said, 
though  apparently  on  no  sufficient  grounds,  that  red  pimpernel  is  poisonous 
to  small  birds. 

55  Or  u  blood-shot  eyes."  56  A  disease  of  the  pupil. 

57  Belladonna,  a  preparation  from  the  Atropa  belladonna,  is  now  gene- 
rally used  for  this  purpose.  58  "  Paracentesis." 

59  This  plant  is  unknown.  Fee  suggests  that  Pliny  may  have  made  a 
mistake,  and  that  the  account  from  which  he  copies  may  have  been,  that 
when  cattle  have  been  stung  by  the  asilus,  or  gadfly,  they  have  recourse  to 
the  Anagallis.  60  "  Savage  eye." 

61  In  c.  38  of  this  Book. 


attended  with  swelling,  it  will  be  a  good  plan  to  apply  worm- 
wood beaten  up  with  honey,  as  well  as  powdered  betony. 


The  fistula  of  the  eye,  called  "  eegilops,"  is  cured  by  the 
agency  of  the  plant  of  the  same  name,63  which  grows  among 
barley,  and  has  a  leaf  like  that  of  wheat.  The  seed  is 
pounded  for  the  purpose,  and  applied  with  meal ;  or  else  the 
juice  is  extracted  from  the  stem  and  more  pulpy  leaves,  the 
ears  being  first  removed.  This  juice  is  incorporated  with  meal 
of  three-month  wheat,  and  divided  into  lozenges. 


Some  persons,  too,  were  in  the  habit  of  employing  mandra- 
gora  for  diseases  of  the  eyes ;  but  more  recently,  the  use  of  it 
for  such  a  purpose  has  been  abandoned.  It  is  a  well-ascertained 
fact,  however,  that  the  root,  beaten  up  with  rose  oil  and 
wine,  is  curative  of  defluxions  of  the  eyes  and  pains  in  those 
organs ;  and,  indeed,  the  juice  of  this  plant  still  forms  an  in- 
gredient in  many  medicaments  for  the  eyes.  Some  persons 
give  it  the  name  of  "  circseon."63  There  are  two  varieties, 
the  white64  mandragora,  which  is  generally  thought  to  be  the 
male  plant,  and  the  black,65  which  is  considered  to  be  the 
female.  It  has  a  leaf  narrower  than  that  of  the  lettuce,  a 
hairy  stem,  and  a  double  or  triple  root,  black  without  and 
white  within,  soft  and  fleshy,  and  nearly  a  cubit  in  length. 

Both  kinds  bear  a  fruit  about  the  size  of  a  hazel-nut, 
enclosing  a  seed  resembling  the  pips  of  a  pear  in  appearance. 
The  name  given  to  the  white  plant  by  some  persons  is 
"arsen,"66  by  others  "morion,"67  and  by  others  again,  "hippo- 
phlomos."  The  leaves  of  it  are  white,  while  those  of  the  other 

62  See  B.  xviii.  c.  44,  and  B.  xxi.  c.  63. 

63  Or  "Plant  of  Circe." 

64  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Atropa  mandragora  vernalis  of  Bertolini, 
the  Spring  mandrake. 

65  The  Atropa  mandragora  autumnalis  of  Bertolini,  the  Autumnal  man- 
drake. 66  The  Greek  for  "  male." 

67  "Dementing."  Fee  remarks  that  the  "Morion"  in  reality  is  a 
different  plant,  and  queries  whether  it  may  not  be  the  Atropa  bella- 
donna of  Linnaeus,  the  Belladonna,  or  Deadly  nightshade,  mentioned  above 
in  Note  57. 

Chap.  94.]  MANDEAGORA.  139 

one68  are  broader,  and  similar  to  those  of  garden  lapathum69  in 
appearance.  Persons,  when  about  to  gather  this  plant,  take 
every  precaution  not  to  have  the  wind  blowing  in  their  face  ; 
and,  after  tracing  three  circles  round  it  with  a  sword,  turn 
towards  the  west  and  dig  it  up.70  The  juice  is  extracted  both 
from  the  fruit  and  from  the  stalk,  the  top  being  first  removed ; 
also  from  the  root,  which  is  punctured  for  the  purpose,  or  else 
a  decoction  is  made  of  it.  The  filaments,  too,  of  the  root  ^are 
made  use  of,  and  it  is  sometimes  cut  up  into  segments  and 
kept  in  wine. 

It  is  not  the  mandragora  of  every  country  that  will  yield  a 
juice,  but  where  it  does,  it  is  about  vintage  time  that  it  is 
collected :  it  has  in  all  cases  a  powerful  odour,  that  of  the 
root  and  fruit  the  most  so.  The  fruit  is  gathered  when  ripe, 
and  dried  in  the  shade ;  and  the  juice,  when  extracted,  is  left 
to  thicken  in  the  sun.  The  same  is  the  case,  too,  with  the 
juice  of  the  root,  which  is  extracted  either  by  pounding  it  or 
by  boiling  it  down  to  one  third  in  red  wine.  The  leaves 
are  best,  kept  in  brine ;  indeed,  when  fresh,  the  juice  of  them 
is  a  baneful  poison,71  and  these  noxious  properties  are  far  from 
being  entirely  removed,  even  when  they  are  preserved  in 
brine.  The  very  odour  of  them  is  highly  oppressive  to  the 
head,  although  there  are  countries  in  which  the  fruit  is  eaten. 
Persons  ignorant  of  its  properties  are  apt  to  be  struck  dumb 
by  the  odour  of  this  plant  when  in  excess,  and  too  strong  a 
dose  of  the  juice  is  productive  of  fatal  effects. 

Administered  in*  doses  proportioned  to  the  strength  of  the 
patient,  this  juice  has  a  narcotic  effect ;  a  middling  dose  being 
one  cyathus.  It  is  given,  too,  for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents, 
and  before  incisions  or  punctures  are  made  in  the  body,  in 

68  The  female,  or  black,  mandrake. 

69  See  B.  xx.  c.  85. 

70  The  superstitions  with  reference  to  the  Mandrake  extended  from  the 
earliest  times  till  a  very  recent  period.      It  was  used  in  philtres,  and  was 
supposed  to  utter  piercing  cries  when  taken  up  ;  Josephus  counsels  those 
whose  business  it  is  to  do  so,  to  employ  a  dog  for  the  purpose,  if  they  would 
avoid  dreadful  misfortunes.     All  these  notions  probably  arose  from  the  re- 
semblance which  the  root  bears  to  the  legs  and  lower  part  of  the  human 
body.     See  B.  xxii.  c.  9,  where  we  have  queried  in  a  Note  whether  the 
Eryngium  may  not  have  been  the  "  mandrake,"  the  possession  of  which 
was  so  much  coveted  by  the  wives  of  Jacob. 

71  "Pestis  est." 

140  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HiSTcrar.  [Book  XXY. 

order  to  ensure  insensibility  to  the  pain.72  Indeed,  for  this  last 
purpose,  with  some  persons,  the  odour  of  it  is  quite  sufficient 
to  induce  sleep.  The  juice  is  taken  also  as  a  substitute  for 
hellebore,  in  doses  of  two  oboli,  in  honied  wine :  hellebore, 
however,  is  more  efficacious  as  an  emetic,  and  as  an  evacuant 
of  black  bile. 


Hemlock,73  too,  is  a  poisonous  plant,  rendered  odious  by  the 
use  made  of  it  by  the  Athenian  people,  as  an  instrument  of 
capital  punishment:  still,74  however,  as  it  is  employed  for 
many  useful  purposes,  it  must  not  be  omitted.  It  is  the  seed 
that  is  noxious,  the  stalk  being  eaten  by  many  people,  either 
green,  or  cooked78  in  the  saucepan.  This  stem  is  smooth, 
jointed  like  a  reed,  of  a  swarthy  hue,  often  as  much  as  two 
cubits  in  height,  and  branchy  at  the  top.  The  leaves  are  like 
those  of  coriander,  only  softer,  and  possessed  of  a  powerful 
odour.  The  seed  is  more  substantial  than  that  of  anise,  and 
the  root  is  hollow  and  never  used.  The  seed  and  leaves  are 
possessed  of  refrigerating  properties ;  indeed,  it  is  owing  to 
these  properties  that  it  is  so  fatal,  the  cold  chills  with  which  it 
is  attended  commencing  at  the  extremities.  The  great  remedy76 
for  it,  provided  it  has  not  reached  the  vitals,  is  wine,  which  is 
naturally  of  a  warming  tendency ;  but  if  it  is  taken  in  wine, 
it  is  irremediably  fatal. 

A  juice  is  extracted  from  the  leaves  and  flowers  ;  for  it  is 
at  the  time  of  its  blossoming  that  it  is  in  ifs  full  vigour.  The 
seed  is  crushed,  and  the  juice  extracted  from  it  is  left  to 
thicken  in  the  sun,  and  then  divided  into  lozenges.  This 

72  In  the  same  way  that  chloroform  is  now  administered. 

73  "Cicuta."      Identified  with  the  Conium  maculatum  of  Linnaeus, 
Common  hemlock  or  Keghs.     It  grows  in  the  vicinity  of  Athens,  and  pro- 
bably formed  the  basis  of  the  poisons  with  which  that  volatile  people  "  re- 
compensed," as  Fee  remarks,  the  virtues  and  exploits  of  their  philosophers 
and  generals.     Socrates,  Phocion,  and  Philopcemen,  are  said  to  have  been 
poisoned  with  hemlock  ;  but  in  the  case  of  Socrates,  it  was  probably  com- 
bined with  opium  and  other  narcotics.    See  B.  xiv.  cc.  7,  28,  and  B.  xxiii. 
c.  23, 

74  He  has  more  than  once  stated,  that  it  is  not  his  object  to  enter  into 
a  description  of  poisons. 

75  Fee  doubts  if  it  is  possible  to  eat  it,  boiled  even,  with  impunity. 

76  See  B.  xiv.  cc.  7,  28,  and  B.  xxiii.  c.  23. 

Chap.  97.]  MOLYBDJ31S-A.  141 

preparation  proves  fatal  by  coagulating  the  blood — another 
deadly  property  which  belongs  to  it ;  and  hence  it  is  that  the 
bodies  of  those  who  have  been  poisoned  by  it  are  covered  with 
spots.  It  is  sometimes  used  in  combination  with  water  as  a  me- 
dium for  diluting  certain  medicaments.  An  emollient  poultice 
is  also  prepared  from  this  juice,  for  the  purpose  of  cooling  the 
stomach  ;  but  the  principal  use  made  of  it  is  as  a  topical  ap- 
plication, to  check  defluxions  of  the  eyes  in  summer,  and  to 
allay  pains  in  those  organs.  It  is  employed  also  as  an  ingre- 
dient in  eyesalves,  and  is  used  for  arresting  fluxes  in  other  parts 
of  the  body  :  the  leaves,  too,  have  a  soothing  effect  upon  all 
kinds  of  pains  and  tumours,  and  upon  defluxions  of  the  eyes. 

Anaxilaiis  makes  a  statement  to  the  effect,  that  if  the 
mamillaB77  are  rubbed  with  hemlock  during  virginity,  they  will 
always  be  hard  and  firm :  but  a  better-ascertained  fact  is,  that 
applied78  to  the  mamillge,  it  dries  up  the  milk  in  women  re- 
cently delivered ;  as  also  that,  applied  to  the  testes  at  the  age 
of  puberty,  it  acts  most  effectually  as  an  antaphrodisiac.79  As 
to  those  cases  in  which  it  is  recommended  to  take  it  internally 
as  a  remedy,  I  shall,  for  my  own  part,  decline  to  mention  them. 
The  most  powerful  hemlock  is  that  grown  at  Susa,  in  Parthia, 
the  next  best  being  the  produce  of  Laconia,  Crete,  and  Asia.80 
In  Greece,  the  hemlock  of  the  finest  quality  is  that  of  Megara, 
and  next  to  it,  that  of  Attica. 


Crethmos  agrios,81  applied  to  the  eyes,  removes  rheum ;  and, 
with  the  addition  of  polenta,  it  causes  tumours  to  disappear. 


Molybdaena82  also  grows  everywhere  in  the  fields,  a  plant 
commonly  known  as  "  plumbago."82  It  has  leaves  like  those  of 
lapathum,83  and  a  thick,  hairy  root.  Chewed  and  applied  to  the 

77  A  very  dangerous  use  of  it,  Desfontaines  thinks. 
'8  Desfontaines  says  that  it  is  still  employed  in  various  ways  when  the 
milk  is  in  excess. 

79  By  causing  those  organs  to  waste  away.  ^ 

80  The  province  of  Asia  Minor. 

81  "  Wild  crethmos."     Generally  identified  with  the  Crithmum  mariti- 
mum  of  Linnseus,  Small  samphire,  or  sea  fennel. 

82  Or  "lead  plant."     Identified  with  the  Plumbago  Europcea  of  Lin- 
nseus, Leadwort,  or  French  dittander.  83  gee  B,  xx>  c<  $5, 

142  PLINY' 8   NATURAL   HISTOET.  [Book  XXV. 

eye  from  time  to  time,  it  removes  the  disease  called  "  plum- 
bum,"84 which  affects  that  organ. 



The  first  kind  of  capnos,85  known  also  as  "chicken's  foot/'86  is 
found  growing  on  walls  and  hedges:  it  has  very  thin, 
straggling  branches,  with  a  purple  blossom.  It  is  used  in  a 
green  state,  and  the  juice  of  it  disperses  films  upon  the  eyes  ; 
hence  it  is  that  it  is  employed  as  an  ingredient  in  medicinal 
compositions  for  the  eyes. 


There  is  another  kind87  of  capnos  also,  similar  both  in  name 
and  properties,  but  different  in  appearance.  It  is  a  branchy 
plant,  is  extremely  delicate,  has  leaves  like  those  of  coriander, 
is  of  an  ashy  colour,  and  bears  a  purple  flower :  it  grows  in 
gardens,  and  amid  crops  of  barley.  Employed  in  the  form  of 
an  ointment  for  the  eyes,  it  improves  the  sight,  producing 
tears  in  the  same  way  that  smoke  does,  to  which,  in  fact,  it 
owes  its  name.  It  has  the  effect  also  of  preventing  the  eye- 
lashes, when  pulled  out,  from  growing  again. 



The  acoron88  has  leaves  similar  to  those  of  the  iris,89  only 
narrower,  and  with  a  longer  stalk ;  the  roots  of  it  are  black, 
and  no.t  so  veined,  but  in  other  respects  are  similar  to  those  of 
the  iris,  have  an  acrid  taste  and  a  not  unpleasant  smell,  and 
act  as  a  carminative.  The  best  roots  are  those  grown  in 
Pontus,  the  next  best  those  of  Galatia,  and  the  next  those  of 

84  "  Lead  disease,"  apparently;    livid  spots  on  the  eyelids,  Hardouin 

85  Or  "  smoke-plant ;"  so  called  from  its  smell,  which  resembles  that  of 
smoke  or  soot. 

86  «  Pedes  gallinacei."     Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Corydalis  digitata  of 
Persoon,  or  else   the  C.  bulbosa,  or   C.  fabacea,  several  varieties  of  Fu- 

87  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Fumaria  parvifolia  of  Lamarck,  Small- 
leaved  fumitory,  or  Earth-smoke.     Other  varieties  of  Fumitory  have  also 
been  mentioned. 

b8  The  Acorus  calamus  of  Linnaeus,  Sweet  cane,  or  Sweet- smelling  flag. 
See  B.  xii.  c.  48.  89  See  B.  ixi.  c.  19. 

Chap.  102.]  THE    GBEATEE  AIZOUM.  143 

Crete ;  but  it  is  in  Colchis,  on  the  banks  of  the  river  Phasis, 
and  in  various  other  watery  localities,  that  they  are  found  in 
the  greatest  abundance.  When  fresh,  they  have  a  more 
powerful  odour  than  when  kept  for  some  time  :  these  of  Crete 
are  more  blanched  than  the  produce  of  Pontus.  They  are  cut 
into  pieces  about  a  finger  in  length,  and  dried  in  leather  bags90 
in  the  shade. 

There  are  some  authors  who  give  the  name  of  "  acoron"  to 
the  root  of  the  oxymyrsine  ;91  for  which  reason  also  some  prefer 
giving  that  plant  the  name  of  "  acorion."  It  has  powerful  pro- 
perties as  a  calorific  and  resolvent,  and  is  taken  in  drink  for 
cataract  and  films  upon  the  eyes ;  the  juice  also  is  extracted, 
and  taken  for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents. 



The  cotyledon92  is  a  small  herbaceous  plant,  with  a  diminu- 
tive, tender  stem,  and  an  unctuous  leaf,  with  a  concave  surface 
like  that  of  the  cotyloid  cavity  of  the  thigh.  It  grows  in 
maritime  and  rocky  localities,  is  of  a  green  colour,  and  has  a 
rounded  root  like  an  olive :  the  juice  of  it  is  remedial  for 
diseases  of  the  eyes. 

There  is  another93  kind  also  of  the  same  plant,  the  leaves  of 
which  are  of  a  dirty  green94  colour,  larger  than  those  of  the 
other,  and  growing  in  greater  numbers  about  the  root,  which 
is  surrounded  with  them  just  as  the  eye  is  with  the  socket. 
These  leaves  have  a  remarkably  astringent  taste,  and  the  stem 
is  of  considerable  length,  but  extremely  slender.  This  plant 
is  employed  for  the  same  purposes  as  the  iris  and  aizourn. 



Of  the  plant  known  as  aizoum94*  there  are  two  kinds;  the 
9<>  "  Utribus."  91  see  B.  xv.  c.  7. 

92  Identified  with  the  Cotyledon  umbilicus  of  Smith,  Ilor.  £rit.,  Navel- 
wort,  Kidney-wort,  or  Wall  penny-wort. 

93  Identified  by  Littre  with  the  Saxifraga  media  of  Gouan  ;  and  by  Fee 
with  the  Cotyledon  serrata  of  Linnaeus,  Saw- toothed  navel-woit. 

94  "Sordidis."  «•  ''Always  living." 


larger  of  which  is  sown  in  earthen  pots.  By  some  persons  it 
is  known  as  "  buphthalmos,"96  and  by  others  as  "zoopth- 
almos,"  or  else  as  "  stergethron,"  because  it  forms  an  in- 
gredient in  the  composition  of  philtres.  Another  name 
given  to  it  is  "hypogeson,"  from  the  circumstance  that  it 
generally  grows  upon  the  eaves95*  of  houses :  some  persons, 
again,  give  it  the  names  of  "  ambrosion"  and  "  amerimnon." 
In  Italy  it  is  known  as  "  sedum  magnum,"96  "oculus,"  or 
"  digitellus."  The  other  kind97  of  aizoiim  is  more  diminutive, 
and  is  known  by  some  persons  as  "  erithales"98  and  by  others 
as  "  trithales,"  from  the  circumstance  that  it  blossoms  three 
times  in  the  year.  Other  names  given  to  it  are  "  chryso- 
thales"99  and  "  isoetes  :J)1  but  aizoiim  is  the  common  appellation 
of  them  both,  from  their  being  always  green. 

The  larger  kind  exceeds  a  cubit  in  height,  and  is  somewhat 
thicker  than  the  thumb  :  at  the  extremity,  the  leaves  are  simi- 
lar to  a  tongue  in  shape,  and  are  fleshy,  unctuous,  Ml  of  juice, 
and  about  as  broad  as  a  person's  thumb.  Some  are  bent  down- 
wards towards  the  ground,  while  others  again  stand  upright, 
the  outline  of  them  resembling  an  eye  in  shape.  The  smaller 
kind  grows  upon  walls,  old  rubbish  of  houses,  and  tiled  roofs ; 
it  is  branchy  from  the  root,  and  covered  with  leaves  to  the  ex- 
tremity. These  leaves  are  narrow,  pointed,  and  juicy :  the 
stem  is  a  palm  in  height,  and  the  root  is  never  used. 



A  similar  plant  is  that  known  to  the  Greeks  by  the  name  of 
"  andrachle  agria,"2  and  by  the  people  of  Italy  as  the  "  illece- 

95  "Bull's  eye,"  "living  eye,  "and  "  love  exciter."     The  Semper vivum 
tectorum  of  Linnaeus,  common  Houseleek  or  Sengreene. 

95*  Called  "geisa"  in  Greek. 

96  "  Great  houseleek,"   "eye,"  or  "little  finger/' 

97  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Sedum  ochroleiicum  of  Sibthorp  ;  Sprengel 
with  the  Sedum  altissimum,  and  others  with  the  Sedum  acre,  varieties  of 
Wall  pepper,  or  Stone-crop.       Littre  gives  the  Sedum  amplexicaule  of 
Decandolle.  98  "  Spring  blossoming." 

99  "  Blossoming  like  gold."  l  "  The  same  all  the  year." 

2  "  Wild  andrachle."  Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Sedum  stel- 
latuin ;  Fee,  though  with  some  hesitation,  with  the  Sedum  reflexum  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Sharp-pointed  stone-crop,  or  Prick-madam.  The  Sedum, 
however,  is  of  a  caustic  and  slightly  corrosive  nature,  and  not  edible  ;  in 
which  it  certainly  differs  from  the  Andrachle  agria  of  our  author.  Holland 
calls  it  "  Wild  purslain." 

Chap.  105.]         BEMEDIES  FOB  DISEASES  OF  THE  TEETH.  145 

bra."  Its  leaves,  though  small,  are  larger  than  those  of  the 
last-named  plant,  but  growing  on  a  shorter  stem.  It  grows  in 
craggy  localities,  and  is  gathered  for  use  as  food.  All  these 
plants  have  the  same  properties,  being  cooling  and  astringent. 
The  leaves,  applied  topically,  or  the  juice,  in  form  of  a  lini- 
ment, are  curative  of  defluxions  of  the  eyes :  this  juice  too 
acts  as  a  detergent  upon  ulcers  of  the  eyes,  makes  new  flesh, 
and  causes  them  to  cicatrize ;  it3  cleanses  the  eyelids  also  of 
viscous  matter.  Applied  to  the  temples,  both  the  leaves 
and  the  juice  of  these  plants  are  remedial  for  head-ache ;  they 
neutralize  the  venom  also  of  the  phalangium  ;  and  the  greater 
aizoiim,  in  particular,  is  an  antidote  to  aconite.  It  is  asserted, 
too,  that  those  who  carry  this  last  plant  about  them  will  never 
be  stung  by  the  scorpion. 

These  plants  are  curative  of  pains  in  the  ears ;  which 
is  the  case  also  with  juice  of  henbane,  applied  in  moderate 
quantities,  of  achillea,4  of  the  smaller  centaury  and  plantago, 
of  peucedanum  in  combination  with  rose-oil  and  opium,  and  of 
acoron5  mixed  with  rose-leaves.  In  all  these  cases,  the  liquid 
is  made  warm,  and  introduced  into  the  ear  with  the  aid  of  a 
syringe.6  The  cotyledon  is  good,  too,  for  suppurations  in  the 
ears,  mixed  with  deer's  marrow  made  hot.  The  juice  of 
pounded  root  of  ebulum7  is  strained  through  a  linen  cloth, 
and  then  left  to  thicken  in  the  sun :  when  wanted  for  use,  it 
is  moistened  with  oil  of  roses,  and  made  hot,  being  employed 
for  the  cure  of  iinposthumes  of  the  parotid  glands.  Yervain 
and  plantago  are  likewise  used  for  the  cure  of  the  same 
malady,  as  also  sideritis,8  mixed  with  stale  axle-grease. 


Aristolochia,8*  mixed  with  cyperus,9  is  curative  of  polypus 
of  the  nose.10 


The  following  are  remedies  for  diseases  of  the  teeth  :    root 

3  This  is  probably  the  meaning  of  "  palpebras  deglutinat." 

4  See  c.  19  of  this  Book.  5  See  c.  100  of  this  Book. 

6  "  Strigil."  This  in  general  means  a  "  body-scraper ;"  but  it  most 
probably  signifies  a  "  syringe,"  in  the  present  instance.  See  B.  xxix.  c. 
39,  and  B.  xxxi  c.  47.  7  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  35. 

8  See  c.  19  of  this  Book.  *•  See  c.  54  of  this  Book, 

9  See  B.  xxi.  cc.  69,  70.  10  "  Ozaenam." 

VOL.  V.  L 


of  panacea,11  chewed,  that  of  the  chironion  in  particular,  and 
juice  of  panaces,  used  as  a  collutory ;  root,  too,  of  henbane, 
chewed  with  vinegar,  and  root  of  polemonia.12  The  root  of 
plantago  is  chewed  for  a  similar  purpose,  or  the  teeth  are 
rinsed  with  a  decoction  of  the  juice  mixed  with  vinegar.  The 
leaves,  too,  are  said  to  he  useful  for  the  gums,  when  swollen 
with  sanious  blood,  or  if  there  are  discharges  of  blood  there- 
from. The  seed,  too,  of  plantago  is  a  cure  for  abscesses  in  the 
gums,  and  for  gum-boils.  Aristolochia  has  a  strengthening 
effect  upon  the  gums  and  teeth  ;  and  the  same  with  vervain, 
either  chewed  with  the  root  of  that  plant,  or  boiled  in  wine 
and  vinegar,  the  decoction  being  employed  as  a  gargle.  The 
same  is  the  case,  also,  with  root  of  cinquefoil,  boiled  down  to 
one  third,  in  wine  or  vinegar ;  before  it  is  boiled,  however,  the 
root  should  be  washed  in  sea  or  salt  water  :  the  decoction,  too, 
must  be  kept  a  considerable  time  in  the  mouth.  Some  persons 
prefer  cleaning  the  teeth  with  ashes  of  cinquefoil. 

Root  of  verbascum13  is  also  boiled  in  wine,  and  the  decoction 
used  for  rinsing  the  teeth.  The  same  is  done  too  with  hyssop 
and  juice  of  peucedanum ,  mixed  with  opium  ;  or  else  the  juice 
of  the  root  of  anagallis,14  the  female  plant  in  particular,  is 
injected  into  the  nostril  on  the  opposite  side  to  that  in  which 
the  pain  is  felt. 



Erigeron15  is  called  by  our  people  "  senecio."  It  is  said 
that  if  a  person,  after  tracing  around  this  plant  with  an  imple- 
ment of  iron,  takes  it  up  and  touches  the  tooth  affected  with  it 
three  times,  taking  care  to  spit  each  time  on  the  ground,  and 
then  replaces  it  in  the  same  spot,  so  as  to  take  root  again, 
he  will  never  experience  any  further  pain  in  that  tooth.  This 
plant  has  just' the  appearance  and  softness  of  trixago,16  with  a 
number  of  small  reddish-coloured  stems:  it  is  found  growing 
upon  walls,  and  the  tiled  roofs  of  houses.  The  Greeks  have 

11  See  c.  11  of  this  Book.  12  See  c.  28  of  this  Book. 

13  See  c.  73  of  this  Book.  u  See  c.  92  of  this  Book. 

15  Identified  by  Desfontaines  with  the  Senecio  Jacobaea  of  Linnaeus, 
Common  ragwort.  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Senecio  vulgaris  of  Linnieus, 
our  Groundsel.  They  are  botli  destitute  of  medicinal  properties. 

l.6  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  80. 

Chap.  107.]  THE   EPHEMEEON.  147 

given  it  the  name  of  "  erigeron,"17  because  it  is  white  in 
spring.  The  head  is  divided  into  numerous  downy  filaments, 
which  resemble  those  of  the  thorn,18  protruding  from  between 
the  divisions  of  the  head  :  hence  it  is  that  Callimachus  has 
given  it  the  name  of  "  acanthis,"19  while  others,  again,  call  it 
"  pappus.20" 

After  all,  however,  the  Greek  writers  are  by  no  means  agreed 
as  to  this  plant;  some  say,  for  instance,  that  it  has  leaves 
like  those  of  rocket,  while  others  maintain  that  they  resemble 
those  of  the  robur,  only  that  they  are  considerably  smaller. 
Some,  again,  assert  that  the  root  is  useless,  while  others  aver 
that  it  is  beneficial  for  the  sinews,  and  others  that  it  produces 
suffocation,  if  taken  in  drink.  On  the  other  hand,  some  have 
prescribed  it  in  wine,  for  jaundice  and  all  affections  of  the 
bladder,  heart,  and  liver,  and  give  it  as  their  opinion  that  it 
carries  off  gravel  from  the  kidneys.  It  has  been  prescribed, 
also,  by  them  for  sciatica,  the  patient  taking  one  drachma 
in  oxymel,  after  a  walk ;  and  has  been  recommended  as  ex- 
tremely useful  for  griping  pains  in  the  bowels,  taken  in  raisin 
wine.  They  assert,  also,  that  used  as  an  aliment  with  vinegar, 
it  is  wholesome  for  the  thoracic  organs,  and  recommend  it  to 
be  grown  in  the  garden  for  these  several  purposes. 

In  addition  to  this,  there  are  some  authorities  to  be  found, 
which  distinguish  another  variety  of  this  plant,  but  without 
mentioning  its  peculiar  characteristics.  This  last  they  recom- 
mend to  be  taken  in  water,  to  neutralize  the  venom  of  serpents, 
and  prescribe  it  to  be  eaten  for  the  cure  of  epilepsy.  For  my 
own  part,  however,  I  shall  only  speak  of  it  in  accordance  with 
the  uses  made  of  it  among  us  Romans,  uses  based  upon  the 
results  of  actual  experience.  The  down  of  this  plant,  beaten 
up  with  saffron  and  a  little  cold  water,  is  applied  to  defluxions 
of  the  eyes ;  parched  with  a  little  salt,  it  is  employed  for  the 
cure  of  scrofulous  sores. 

CHAP.   107. — THE    EPHEMEBON  :    TWO    BEMEDII  S. 

The  ephemeron21  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  lily,  but  smaller  j 

17"Ea/oi  y€pa>i/,  "aged,"  or  " hoary  in  spring." 

18  "  Spinae."     He  probably  uses  a  wrong  term,  and  means  "  thistle." 

19  It  may  possibly  have  been  so  called  from  the  Acanthis,  or  goldfinch,  . 
that  bird  being  fond  of  groundsel, 

20  u  Thistle-down."    If  Pliny  is  speaking  of  groundsel,  he  is  wrong  in 
his  assertion  that  it  turns  white,  or  in  other  words,  goes  to  seed,  in  spring. 

21  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Ornithogalum  stachyoides ;   but  that 


a  stem  of  the  same  height,  a  blue  flower,  and  a  seed  of  which 
no  use  is  made.  The  root  is  single,  about  the  thickness  of 
one's  finger,  and  an  excellent  remedy  for  diseases  of  the  teeth  ; 
for  which  purpose  it  is  cut  up  in  pieces,  and  boiled  in  vinegar, 
the  decoction  being  used  warm  as  a  collutory.  The  root,  too, 
is  employed  by  itself  to  strengthen  the  teeth,  being  inserted  for 
the  purpose  in  those  that  are  hollow  or  carious. 

Boot  of  chelidonia22  is  also  beaten  up  with  vinegar,  and  kept  in 
the  mouth.  Black  hellebore  is  sometimes  inserted  in  carious 
teeth  ;  and  a  decoction  of  either  of  these  last-mentioned  plants, 
in  vinegar,  has  the  effect  of  strengthening  loose  teeth. 


Labrum  Venereum23  is  the  name  given  to  a  plant  that  grows 
in  running  streams.24  It  produces  a  small  worm,25  which  is 
crushed  by  being  rubbed  upon  the  teeth,  or  else  enclosed  in 
wax  and  inserted  in  the  hollow  of  the  tooth.  Care  must  be 
taken,  however,  that  the  plant,  when  pulled  up,  does  not  touch 
the  ground. 



The  plant  known  to  the  Greeks  as  "  batrachion,"26  we  call 
ranunculus.27  There  are  four  varieties  of  it,28  one  of  which 

has  no  blue  flower,  and  the  same  is  the  case  with  many  other  plants  that 
have  been  suggested  as  its  synonym.  Fee  suggests  the  Convallaria  verti- 
cillata  of  Linna3us,  the  whorl-leaved  Solomon's  seal ;  as  to  which,  however, 
there  is  the  same  difficulty  in  reference  to  the  flower.  Holland  calls  it  the 
"  May  lily,"  otherwise  the  Lily  of  the  valley,  the  Convallaria  Maialis ; 
and  this  is  the  synonym  suggested  by  Fuchsius.  Littre  gives  the  Conval- 
laria multiflora  of  Linnaeus.  22  See  c.  50  of  this  Book. 

23  Or  "Venus'  bath."     Identified  by  Littre  with  the  Dipsacus  silvestris 
of  Linnaeus,  and  by  Fee  with  the  Dipsacus  fullonum  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Teazel,  or  Fuller's  thistle.     It  received  its  Roman  name  from  the  form  of 
the  leaves,  which  are  channelled,  and  curved  at  the  edges. 

24  This  is  entirely  erroneous  ;  he  may  possibly  have  mistranslated  some 
author,  who  has  stated  that  the  rain-water  settles  in  reservoirs  formed  by 
the  leaves. 

25  He  alludes  to  the  larvae  of  the  Curculio  or  weevil,  which  are  found 
in  the  head  of  the  Dipsacus,  and  many  other  plants.*   See  B.  xxvii.  c.  62, 
and  B.  xxx.  c.  8.  26  "  Frog-plant." 

1  "  Little  frog."     Called  "  Crow-foot"  by  us. 

28  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Ranunculus  Seguieri,  Fee  with  the  R. 
Asiaticus,  also  a  native  of  Greece. 

Chap.  109.]  THE   BATEACHION.  149 

has  leaves  somewhat  thicker  than  those  of  coriander,  nearly  the 
size  of  those  of  the  mallow,  and  of  a  livid  hue  :  the  stem  of 
the  plant  is  long  and  slender,  and  the  root  white  ;  it  grows  on 
moist  and  well-shaded  embankments.  The  second29  kind  is 
more  foliated  than  the  preceding  one,  the  leaves  have  more 
numerous  incisions,  and  the  stems  of  the  plant  are  long.  The 
third30  variety  is  smaller  than  the  others,  has  a  powerful  smell, 
and  a  flower  of  a  golden  colour.  The  fourth31  kind  is  very  like 
the  one  last  mentioned,  but  the  flower  is  milk-white* 

All  these  plants  have  caustic  properties :  if  the  leaves  are 
applied  unboiled,  they  raise  blisters  like  those  caused  by  the 
action  of  fire ;  hence  it  is  that  they  are  used  for  the  removal  of 
leprous  spots,  itch- scabs,  and  brand  marks  upon  the  skin. 
They  form  an  ingredient  also  in  all  caustic  preparations,  and 
are  applied  for  the  cure  of  alopecy,  care  being  taken  to  remove 
them  very  speedily.  The  root,  if  chewed  for  some  time,  in 
cases  of  tooth-ache,  will  cause32  the  teeth  to  break ;  dried  and 
pulverized,  it  acts  as  a  sternutatory. 

Our  herbalists  give  this  plant  the  name  of  "  struraus,"  from 
the  circumstance  of  its  being  curative  of  strumous33  sores  and 
inflamed  tumours,  for  which  purpose  a  portion  of  it  is  hung 
up  in  the  smoke.  It  is  a  general  belief,  too,  with  them,  that  if 
it  is  replanted,  the  malady  so  cured  will  reappear34 — a  criminal 
practice,  for  which  the  plaritago  is  also  employed.  The  juice 
of  tliis  last-mentioned  plant  is  curative  of  internal  ulcerations 
of  the  mouth ;  and  the  leaves  and  root  are  chewed  for  a  similar 

29  Identified  by  Desfontaines  with  the  Ranunculus  hirsutus,  or  philonotis. 
Fee,  with  Ilardouin,  considers  it  to  be  the  same  as  the  Apiastrum  of   H. 
xx.  c.  45,  and  identifies  it  with  the  Ranunculus  Sardoiis  of  Crantz,  the 
plant  probably  which  produces  a  contraction  of  the  mouth,  rendered  famous 
as  the  "  Sardonic  grin,"  and  more  commonly  known  as  the  Ranunculus 
seeleratus,  Apium  risus,  or  Apium  Sardoiim,    "Laughing  parsley,"    or 
"  Sardinian  parsley/ 

30  Identified  by  Sprengel  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Ranunculus  repens. 
or  Creeping  crow-foot ;  but  by  Fee,  with  the  Ranunculus  muricatus  of 

31  Identified  by  Desfontaines  with  the  Ranunculus  aconitifolius;  by  Fee 
with  the  Ranunculus  aquatilis  of  Linnaeus,  the  Water  crowfoot.     The 
Ranunculi  are  all  active  poisons. 

32  A  fabulous  assertion,  probably,  and  it  is  very  doubtful  if  any  one  ever 
made  the  trial  of  its  efficacy. 

33  Or  scrofula.  34  Sje  B.  xxi.  c.  83,  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  5. 


purpose,  even  when  the  mouth  is  suffering  from  defluxions. 
Ginquefoil  effects  the  cure  of  ulcerations  and  offensive  breath ; 
psyllium35  is  used  also  for  ulcers  of  the  mouth. 


We  shall  also  here  make  mention  of  certain  preparations  for 
the  cure  of  offensive  breath — a  most  noisome  inconvenience. 
For  this  purpose,  leaves  of  myrtle  and  lentisk  are  taken  in  equal 
proportions,  with  one  half  the  quantity  of  Syrian  nut-galls ; 
they  are  then  pounded  together  and  sprinkled  with  old  wine, 
and  the  composition  is  chewed  in  the  morning.  In  similar 
cases,  also,  ivy  berries  are  used,  in  combination  with  cassia  and 
myrrh ;  these  ingredients  being  mixed,  in  equal  proportions, 
with  wine. 

For  offensive  odours  of  the  nostrils,  even  though  attended 
with  carcinoma,  the  most  effectual  remedy  is  seed  of  dra- 
contium36  beaten  up  with  honey.  An  application  of  hyssop  has 
the  effect  of  making  bruises  disappear.  Brand  marks37  in  the 
face  are  healed  by  rubbing  them  with  mandragora.38 

SUMMARY. — Remedies,  narratives,  and  observations,  twelve 
hundred  and  ninety-two. 

ROMAN  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — C.  Yalgius,39  Pompeius  Lenaeus,40 
Sextius  Niger41  who  wrote  in  Greek,  Julius  Bassus42  who 
wrote  in  Greek,  Antonius  Castor,43  Cornelius  Celsus,44  Fabi- 

FOREIGN   AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Theophrastus,46  Apollodorus,47 
Democritus,48  Juba,49  Orpheus,50  Pythagoras,51  Mago,52  Menan- 

35  See  c.  90  of  this  Book.  36  See  B.  xxiv.  cc.  91,  93. 

37  "  Stigmata."  3S  See  c.  94  of  this  Book. 

39  See  end  of  B.  xx.  40  See  end  of  B.  xiv. 

41  See  end  of  B.  xii.  42  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

43  See  end  of  B.  xx.  44  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

45  j^  Fabianus  Papirius,  see  end  of  B.  ii.  ;  for  Fabianus  Sabinus,  see 
end  of  B.  xviii. 

46  See  end  of  B.  iii.  47  See  end  of  B.  xi. 
48  See  end  of  B.  ii.  49  See  end  of  B.  v. 
50  See  end  of  B,  xx.  5l  See  end  of  B.  ii. 
52  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

SUMMARY.  151 

dor53  who  wrote  the  "  Biochresta,"  Nicander,54  Horaer,  He- 
siod,65  Musaeus,56  Sophocles,57  Xanthus,68  Anaxilaiis.59 

MEDICAL  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Mnesitheus,60  Callimachus,61 
Phanias62  the  physician,  Timaristus,63  Sim  us,64  Hippo- 
crates,65 Chrysippus,66  Diocles,67  Ophelion,68  Heraclides,69  Hi- 
cesius,70  Dionysius,71  Apollodorus7a  of  Citium,  Apollodorus™ 
of  Tarentum,  Praxagoras,74  Plistonicus,75  Medius,76  Dieuches,77 
Cleophantus,78  Philistion,79  Asclepiades,80  Crateuas,81  Petronius 
Diodotus,82  lollas,83  Erasistratus,84  Diagoras,85  Andreas,88 
Mnesides,87  Epicharmus,88  Damion,89  Sosimenes,90  Tlepolemus,91 
Metrodorus,92  Solon,93  Lycus,94  Olympias95  of  Thebes,  Philinus,96 
Petrichus,97  Micton,98  Glaucias,"  Xenocrates.1 

63  See  end  of  B.  xix.  54  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

65  See  end  of  B.  vii.  56  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

57  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

58  A  Lydian  historian,  anterior  to  Herodotus,  of  whom  little  is  known 
with  any  degree  of  certainty.     He  prohably  flourished  in  the  earlier  part 
of  the  fifth  century  B.C. 

59  See  end  of  B.  xxi.  *°  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 
61  See  end  of  B.  iv.  62  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 
63  See  end  of  B.  xxi.  64  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 
65  See  end  of  B.  vii.  66  See  end  of  B.  xx. 
67  See  end  of  B.  xx.  6S  See  end  of  B.  xx. 
69  See  end  of  B.  xii.  70  See  end  of  B.  xv. 
71  See  end  of  B.  xii.  72  See  end  of  B.  xx. 
73  See  end  of  B.  xx.  74  See  end  of  1*.  xx. 
75  See  end  cf  B.  xx.  76  See  end  of  B.  xx. 
77  See  end  of  B.  xx.  78  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

*79  See  end  of  B.  xx.  *°  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

81  See  end  of  B.  xx.  82  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

83  See  end  of  B.  xii.  w  See  end  of  B.  xi. 

85  See  end  of  B.  xii.  86  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

87  See  end  of  B.  xii.  88  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

89  See  end  of  B.  xx.  90  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

91  See  end  of  B.  xx.  92  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

93  See  end  of  B.  xx.  94  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

95  See  end  of  B.  xx.  96  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

97  See  end  of  B.  xix.  98  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

99  See  end  of  B.  xx.  l  See  end  of  B.  xx. 






CHAP.    1.    (1.) — NEW   FOKMS    OF    DISEASE. 

THE  face  of  man  has  recently  been  sensible  of  new  forms  of 
disease,  unknown1  in  ancient  times,  not  only  to  Italy,  but  to 
almost  the  whole  of  Europe.  Still,  however,  they  have  not  as 
yet  extended  to  the  whole  of  Italy,  nor  have  they  made  any 
very  great  inroads  in  Illyricum,  Gaul,  or  Spain,  or  indeed 
any  other  parts,  to  so  great  an  extent  as  in  Rome  and  its  en- 
virons. Though  unattended  with  pain,  and  not  dangerous  to 
life,  these  diseases  are  of  so  loathsome  a  nature,  that  any  form 
of  death  would  be  preferable  to  them. 


The  most  insupportable  of  all  these  diseases  is  the  one  which, 
after  its  Greek  appellation,  is  known  to  us  as  "  lichen."1  In 
consequence,  however,  of  its  generally  making  its  first  appear- 
ance at  the  chin,  the  Latins,  by  way  of  joke,  originally — so 
prone  are  mankind  to  make  a  jest  of  the  misfortunes  of  others 
— gave  it  the  name  of  "  mentagra  ;"2  an  appellation  which  has 
since  become  established  in  general  use.  In  many  cases,  how- 
ever, this  disease  spreads  over  the  interior  of  the  mouth,  and 
takes  possession  of  the  whole  face,  with  the  sole  exception  of 
the,  eyes ;  after  which,  it  passes  downwards  to  the  neck,  breast, 
and  hands,  covering  them  with  foul  furfuraceous  eruptions. 



This  curse  was  unknown  to  the  ancients,3  and  in  the  times  of 
our  fathers  even,  having  first  entered  Italy  in  the  middle  of 

1  Probably  as  Littre  suggests,  a  peculiar  form  of  elephantiasis,  the 
leprosy  of  the  middle  ages. 

2  The  "chin  disease  :"  from  "men turn,"  the  "  chin."     It  is  difficult  to 
detect  the  joke  which  has  here  incurred  the  censure  of  our  author. 

3  Meaning  the  people  of  Italy. 

Chap.  3.]      WHEN   LICHEN   FIRST   APPEARED   IN   ITALY.          153 

the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Tiberius4  Claudius  Caesar ;  where 
it  was  introduced  from  Asia,4*  in  which  country  it  had  lately 
made6  its  appearance,  by  a  member  of  the  equestrian  order  at 
Rome,  a  native  of  Perusium,  secretary  to  the  quaestor.  The 
disease,  however,  did  not  attack  either  females  or  slaves,6 
nor  yet  the  lower  orders,  or,  indeed,  the  middle  classes,  but 
only  the  nobles,  being  communicated  even  by  the  momentary 
contact  requisite  for  the  act  of  salutation.7  Many  of  those 
who  persevered  in  undergoing  a  course  of  remedial  treatment, 
though  cured  of  the  disease,  retained  scars  upon  the  body  more 
hideous  even  than  the  malady  itself;  it  being  treated  with 
cauteries,  as  it  was  certain  to  break  out  afresh,  unless  means 
were  adopted  for  burning  it  out  of  the  body  by  cauterizing  to 
the  very  bone. 

Upon  this  occasion  several  physicians  repaired  to  Rome 
from  Egypt,  that  fruitful  parent  of  maladies  of  this  nature, 
men  who  devoted  themselves  solely  to  this  branch  of  medical 
practice ;  and  very  considerable  were  the  profits  they  made. 
At  all  events,  it  is  a  well-known  fact  that  Maniiius  Cornutus, 
a  personage  of  praetorian  rank,  and  legatus  of  the  province  of 
Aquitania,  expended  no  less  a  sum  than  two  hundred  thou- 
sand8 sesterces  upon  his  cure. 

It  is  much  more  frequently,  on  the  other  hand,  that  we  hear 
of  new  forms  of  diseases  attacking  the  lower  orders ;  a  singular 
fact,  and  one  quite  unequalled  for  the  marvellous  phaenomena 
which  sometimes  attend  these  outbreaks.  Thus,  for  instance, 
we  find  an  epidemic  suddenly  making  its  appearance  in  a  cer- 
tain country,  and  then  confining  itself,  as  though  it  had  made 
its  election  so  to  do,  to  certain  parts  of  the  body,  certain  ages, 
and  even  certain  pursuits  in  life.  In  the  same  way,  too,  while 

*  It  is  somewhat  difficult  to  say  whether  Tiberius,  the  predecessor,  or 
Claudius,  the  successor  of  Caligula,  is  meant ;  most  probably  the  latter, 
as  the  former's  reign  would  have  been  in  the  times  of  "  our  fathers." 

4*  Asia  Minor. 

5  **  Cum  apparuisset."      He  is  probably  wrong  here,  for  leprosy  was 
known  in  Asia  from  the  very  earliest  times. 

6  This  assertion  as  to  the  slaves  and  lower  orders  is  somewhat  doubtful, 
though  it  is  very  possible  that  the  diet  and  habits  of  the  higher  orders 
may  have  predisposed  them  more  particularly  for  the  attacks  of  the  diseases. 

7  "Osculi,"  "kissing;"  a  nauseous  and  silly  practice,  still  adhered  to, 
between  bearded  men  even,  in  many  parts  of  Europe. 

«  Upwards  of  £1500. 

154  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVI. 

one  class  of  diseases  attacks  the  young,  another  confines  itself 
to  adults  ;  while  one  malady  extends  itself  only  to  the  higher 
classes,  another  is  felt  exclusively  by  the  poor. 


We  find  it  stated  in  the  Annals,  that  it  was  in  the  censorship9 
of  L.  Paulus  and  Q.  Marcius  that  carbuncle10  was  first  intro- 
duced into  Italy,  a  malady  which  till  then  had  confined  itself 
solely  to  the  province  of  Gallia  Narbonensis.  In  the  year 
in  which  I  am  writing  these  lines,  two  persons  of  consular 
rank  have  died  of  this  disease,  Julius  Rufus11  and  Q.  Lecanius 
Eassus;12  the  former  in  consequence  of  an  incision  unskilfully 
made  by  his  medical  attendants,  the  latter  through  a  wound 
upon  the  thumb  of  the  left  hand  by  pricking  a  carbuncle  with 
a  needle,  a  wound  so  small  originally  as  to  be  hardly  percep- 

This  disease  makes  its  appearance  in  the  more  hidden13  parts 
of  the  human  body,  and  mostly  beneath  the  tongue.  It  ori- 
ginally has  the  form  of  a  hard,  red,  pimple,  with  a  blackish 
head  mostly,  though  sometimes  of  a  livid  colour.  It  produces 
tension  of  the  flesh,  but  unattended  with  swelling,  pain,  or 
any  itching  sensation  ;  indeed,  the  only  symptom  that  accom- 
panies it  is  a  confirmed  drowsiness,  which  overpowers  the  pa- 
tient, and  carries  him  off  in  the  course  of  three  days.  Some- 
times, however,  it  is  accompanied  with  shuddering,  and  small 
pustules  about  the  sore  ;  and  occasionally,  though  but  rarely, 
with  fever.  When  these  symptoms  extend  to  the  fauces  and 
oesophagus,  death  ensues  with  the  greatest  rapidity. 


We  have  already14  stated  that  elephantiasis15  was  unknown 

3  A.U.C.  590. 

10  **  Carbunculus."  A  malignant  pustule,  accompanied  with  swelling  and 
ending  with  gangrene,  is  still  known  by  this  name,  but  it  does  not  mani- 
fest any  particular  preference  for  the  mouth  and  tongue.     Fee  says  that 
carbuncle  was  recently  (1833)  endemic  in  Provence,  the  ancient  Gallia 
Narbonensis,  for  which  reason  it  had  received  the  name  of  "  Charbon  Pro- 
ven qal." 

11  Consul,  A.U.C.  819.  12  Consul,  A.U.C.  816. 

13  Judging  from  this  symptom,  Dalechamps  says  that  it  looks  more  like 
chancre  than  carbuncle.  14  In  B.  xx.  c.  52. 

15  Supposed,  as  Pliny  says,  to  have  originally  come  from  Upper  Egypt. 

Chap.  6.]  COLIC.  155 

in  Italy  before  the  time  of  Pompeius  Magnus.  This  malady, 
too,  like  those  already  mentioned,  mostly  makes  its  first  ap- 
pearance in  the  face.  In  its  primary  form  it  bears  a  consider- 
able resemblance  to  a  small  lentil  upon  the  nose ;  the  skin 
gradually  dries  up  all  over  the  body,  is  marked  with  spots  of 
various  colours,  and  presents  an  unequal  surface,  being  thick 
in  one  place,  thin  in  another,  indurated  every  here  and  there, 
and  covered  with  a  sort  of  rough  scab.  At  a  later  period,  the 
skin  assumes  a  black  hue,  and  compresses  the  flesh  upon  the 
bones,  the  fingers  and  toes  becoming  swollen. 

This  disease  was  originally  peculiar  to  Egypt.  Whenever  it 
attacked  the  kings  of  that  country,  it  was  attended  with  pe- 
culiarly fatal  effects  to  the  people,  it  being  the  practice  to 
temper  their  sitting-baths  with  human  blood,  for  the  treatment 
of  the  disease.  As  for  Italy,  however,  its  career  was  very 
soon  cut  short  :  the  same  was  the  case,  too,  with  the  disease 
known  as  "  gernursa"16  to  the  ancients,  a  malady  which  made 
its  appearance  between  the  toes,  and  the  very  name  of  which  is 
now  buried  in  oblivion. 

CHAP.  6. — COLIC. 

It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  some  diseases  should  disappear 
from  among  us,  while  others,  again,  should  continue  to  prevail, 
colic17  for  example.  It  was  only  in  the  reign  of  Tiberius 
CaBsar  that  this  malady  made  its  appearance  in  Italy,  the 
emperor  himself  being  the  first  to  be  attacked  by  it ;  a  cir- 
cumstance which  produced  considerable  mystification  through- 
out the  City,  when  it  read  the  edict  issued  by  that  prince 
excusing  his  inattention  to  public  business,  on  the  ground  of  his 
being  laid  up  with  a  disease,  the  very  name  of  which  was  till 
then  unknown.  To  what  cause  are  we  to  attribute  these  various 
diseases,  or  how  is  it  that  we  have  thus  incurred  the  anger  of 
the  gods  ?  Was  it  deemed  too  little  for  man  to  be  exposed  to 

Lucretius,  B.  vi.  1.  1111,  et  seq.,  attributes  it  to  the  water  of  the  Nile.  It 
is  but  rarely  known  in  Europe. 

16  Fee  thinks  that  this  may  have  been  a  sort  of  abscess  similar  to  those 

by  the  Talmudists. 

17  "  Colum."     Fee  takes  this  to  be  Schirrus  of  the  colon. 

156  PLINY'S  NATUKAL  HISTOBY.          [Book  XXVI. 

fixed  and  determinate  classes  of  maladies,  already  more  than 
three  hundred  in  number,  that  he  must  have  new  forms  of 
disease  to  alarm  him  as  well  ?  And  then,  in  addition  to  all 
these,  not  less  in  number  are  the  troubles  and  misfortunes  which 
man  brings  upon  himself! 

The  remedies  which  I  am  here  describing,  are  those  which 
were  universally  employed  in  ancient  times,  Nature  herself, 
so  to  say,  making  up  the  medicines :  indeed,  for  a  long  time 
these  were  the  only  medicines  employed. 

(2.)  Hippocrates,18  it  is  well  known,  was  the  first  to  com- 
pile a  code  of  medical  precepts,  a  thing  which  he  did  with  the 
greatest  perspicuity,  as  his  treatises,  we  find,  are  replete  with 
information  upon  the  various  plants.  No  less  is  the  informa- 
tion which  we  gain  from  the  works  of  Diocles 19  of  Carystus, 
second  only  in  reputation,  as  well  as  date,  to  Hippocrates. 
The  same,  too,  with  reference  to  the  works  of  Praxagoras, 
Chrysippus,  and,  at  a  later  period,  Erasistratus20  of  Cos. 
Herophilus21  too,  though  himself  the  founder  of  a  more  refined 
system  of  medicine,  was  extremely  profuse  of  his  commenda- 
tions of  the  use  of  simples.  At  a  later  period,  however,  expe- 
rience, our  most  efficient  instructor  in  all  things,  medicine  in 
particular,  gradually  began  to  be  lost  sight  of  in'  mere  words 
and  verbiage :  it  being  found,  in  fact,  much  more  agreeable 
to  sit  in  schools,  and  to  listen  to  the  talk  of  a  professor,  than 
to  go  a  simpling  in  the  deserts,  and  to  be  searching  for  this 
plant  or  that  at  all  the  various  seasons  of  the  year. 



Still,  however,  the  ancient  theories  remained  unshaken, 
based  as  they  were  upon  the  still  existing  grounds  of  uni- 
versally acknowledged  experience ;  until,  in  the  time  of  Pom- 
peius  Magnus,  Asclepiades,22  a  professor  of  rhetoric,  who 
considered  himself  not  sufficiently  repaid  by  that  pursuit,  and 
whose  readiness  and  sagacity  rendered  him  better  adapted  for 
any  other  than  forensic  practice,  suddenly  turned  his  attention 
to  the  medical  art.  Having  never  practised  medicine,  and 
being  totally  unacquainted  with  the  nature  of  remedies — a 

18  See  B.  xxix.  c.  i.  19  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

20  See  B.  xxix.  c.  3.  21  See  B.  xxix.  c.  5. 

22  See  end  of  B.  vii. 


knowledge  only  to  be  acquired  by  personal  examination  and 
actual  experience — as  a  matter  of  course,  he  was  obliged  to 
renounce  all  previously-established  theories,  and  to  trust  rather 
to  his  flowing  periods  and  his  well-studied  discourses,  for 
gaining  an  influence  upon  the  minds  of  his  audience. 

Eeducing  the  whole  art  of  medicine  to  an  estimation  solely 
of  primary  causes,  he  made  it  nothing  but  a  merely  con- 
jectural art,  and  established  it  as  his  creed,  that  there  are  five 
great  principles  of  treatment  for  all  diseases  in  common  ;  diet, 
use  or  non-use  of  wine,  frictions,  exercise  on  foot,  and  ex- 
ercise23 in  a  carriage  or  on  horseback.  As  every  one  perceived 
that  each  of  these  methods  of  treatment  lay  quite  within  his 
own  reach,  all,  of  course,  with  the  greatest  readiness  gave 
their  assent,  willing  as  they  were  to  believe  that  to  be  true 
which  was  so  easy  of  acquisition  ;  and  hence  it  was  that  he 
attracted  nearly  all  the  world  about  him,  as  though  he  had 
been  sent  among  mankind  on  a  special  mission  from  heaven. 


In  addition  to  this,  he  had  a  wonderful  tact  in  gaining  the 
full  confidence  of  his  patients  :  sometimes  he  would  make  them 
a  promise  of  wine,  and  then  seize  the  opportune  moment  for 
administering  it,  while  on  other  occasions,  again,  he  would 
prescribe  cold  water :  indeed,  as  Herophilus,  among  the  an- 
cients, had  been  the  first  to  enquire  into  the  primary  .causes  of 
disease,  and  Cleophantus  had  brought  into  notice  the  treat- 
ment of  diseases  by  wine,  so  did  Asclepiades,  as  we  learn  from 
M.  Varro,  prefer  to  be  indebted  for  his  surname  and  repute 
to  the  extensive  use  made  by  him  of  cold  water  as  a 
remedy.  He  employed  also  various  other  soothing  remedies 
for  his  patients ;  thus,  for  instance,  it  was  he  that  introduced 
swinging  beds,  the  motion  of  which  might  either  lull  the 
malady,  or  induce  sleep,  as  deemed  desirable.  It  was  he, 
too,  that  brought  baths  into  such  general  use, — a  method  of 
treatment  that  was  adopted  with  the  greatest  avidity — in 
addition  to  numerous  other  modes  of  treatment  of  a  pleasant 
and  soothing  nature.  By  these  means  he  acquired  a  great 
professional  reputation,  and  a  no  less  extended  fame ;  which 

23  "  Gestationes  ;"  exercise  on  horseback,  in  a  litter,  or  in  a  carriage 
drawn  by  horses. 


was  very  considerably  enhanced  by  the  following  incident : 
meeting  the  funeral  procession  of  a  person  unknown  to  him, 
he  ordered  the  body  to  be  removed  from  the  funeral  pile24  and 
carried  home,  and  was  thus  the  means  of  saving  his  life.  This 
circumstance  I  am  the  more  desirous  to  mention,  that  it  may 
not  be  imagined  that  it  was  on  slight  grounds  only  that  so 
extensive  a  revolution  was  effected  in  the  medical  art. 

There  is,  however,  one  thing,  and  one  thing  only,  at  which 
we  have  any  ground  for  indignation, — the  fact,  that  a  single 
individual,  and  he  belonging  to  the  most  frivolous  nation25  in 
the  world,  a  man  born  in  utter  indigence,  should  all  on  a 
sudden,  and  that,  too,  for  the  sole  purpose  of  increasing  his 
income,  give  a  new  code  of  medical  laws  to  mankind ;  laws, 
however,  be  it  remembered,  which  have  been  annulled  by 
numerous  authorities  since  his  day.  The  success  of  Asclepi- 
ades  was  considerably  promoted  by  many  of  the  usages  of  ancient 
medicine,  repulsive  in  their  nature,  and  attended  with  far  too 
much  anxiety :  thus,  for  instance,  it  was  the  practice  to  cover 
up  the  patient  with  vast  numbers  of  clothes,  and  to  adopt 
every  possible  method  of  promoting  the  perspiration  ;  to  order 
the  body  to  be  roasted  before  a  fire  ;  or  else  to  be  continually 
sending  the  patient  on  a  search  for  sunshine,  a  thing  hardly  to 
be  found  in  a  showery  climate  like  that  of  this  city  of  ours  ; 
or  rather,  so  to  say,  of  the  whole  of  Italy,  so  prolific25*  as  it  is 
of  fogs  and  rain.-6  It  was  to  remedy  these  inconveniences, 
that  he  introduced  the  use  of  hanging  baths,27  an  invention 
that  was  found  grateful  to  invalids  in  the  very  highest 

In  addition  to  this,  he  modified  the  tortures  which  had 
hitherto  attended  the  treatment  of  certain  maladies ;  as  in 
quiuzy  for  instance,  the  cure  of  which  before  his  time  had  been 
usually  effected  by  the  introduction  of  an  instrument'8  into  the 
throat.  He  condemned,  and  with  good  reason,  the  indiscrimi- 
nate use  of  emetics,  which  till  then  had  been  resorted  to  in  a 

24  See  B.  vii.  c.  37.    Apuleius  gives  the  story  at  considerable  length.,  in 
the  Florida,  B.  iv. 

25  Asia  Minor.     Asclepiades  was  a  native  of  Prusa  in  Bithynia. 

25*  We  a(i0pt  Sillig's  suggestion,  and  read  "  nimborum  altrice,"  the 
word  "  imperatrice  "  being  evidently  out  of  place.  The  climate  of  Italy 
seems  to  have  changed  very  materially  since  his  day. 

26  See  B.  ii.  c.  51.  27  Set/B.  ix.  c.  79.  28  "  Organo." 

Chap.  9.]          EEMABKS  ON  THE  PRACTICES  OF  MAGIC.  159 

most  extraordinary  degree.  He  disapproved  also  of  the  prac- 
tice of  administering  internally  potions  that  are  naturally 
injurious  to  the  stomach,  a  thing  that  may  truthfully  be  pro- 
nounced of  the  greater  part  of  them.  Indeed  it  will  be  as  well 
to  take  an  early  opportunity  of  stating  what  are  the  medi- 
caments which  act  beneficially  upon  the  stomach. 


But  above  all  things,  it  was  the  follies  of  magic  more  par- 
ticularly that  contributed  so  essentially  to  his  success — follies 
which  had  been  carried  to  such  a  pitch  as  to  destroy  all  confi- 
dence in  the  remedial  virtues  of  plants.  Thus,  for  instance, 
it  was  stoutly  maintained  that  by  the  agency  of  the  plant  gethi- 
opis29  rivers  and  standing  waters  could  be  dried  up,  and  that  by 
the  very  touch30  *  *  *  *  all  bars  and  doors  might  be  opened  : 
that  if  the  plant  achaemenis31  were  thrown  into  the  ranks  of  the 
enemy  it  would  be  certain  to  create  a  panic  and  put  them  to 
flight :  that  latace32  was  given  by  the  Persian  kings  to  their 
ambassadors,  to  ensure  them  an  abundant  supply  of  every- 
thing wherever  they  might  happen  to  be :  with  numerous 
other  reveries  of  a  similar  nature.  Where,  I  should  like  to 
know,  were  all  these  plants,  when  the  Cimbri  and  Teutones 
brought  upon  us  the  horrors  of  warfare  with  their  terrific  yells  ? 
or  when  Lucullus  defeated,  with  a  few  legions,  so  many  kings 
who  ruled  over  the  Magi  ?33  Why  is  it  too  that  the  Roman, 
generals  have  always  made  it  their  first  care  in  warfare  to 
make  provision  for  the  victualling  of  their  troops  ?  And  how 
was  it  that  atPharsalia  the  troops  of  Caesar  were  suffering  from 
famine,  if  an  abundance  of  everything  could  have  been  ensured 
by  the  fortunate  possession  of  a  single  plant  ?  Would  it  not  have 
been  better  too  ibr  Scipio  ^Emilianus  to  have  opened  the  gates 
of  Carthage  by  touching  them  with  a  herb,  than  to  have  taken 
so  many  years  to  batter  down  its  bulwarks  with  his  engines  of 

Turning  to  the  present  moment,  let  them,  by  the  agency  of 
the  herb  merois,34  dry  up  the  Pomptine35  Marshes,  if  they  can, 

29  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  102. 

30  We  agree  with  Pintianus  that  the  name  of  some  plant  here  has  been 
lost,  the  word  "condiendis  "  making  no  sense. 

31  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  102. 

32  Some  plant  as  fictitious  as  the  others  here  mentioned. 

33  See  B.  xxx.  c.  i.         «  See  B.  xxiv.  e.  102.          3>  See  B.  iii.  c.  9. 

160  PLINY'S  KATUBAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVI. 

and  by  these  means  restore  so  much  territory  to  the  regions  of 
Italy  in  the  neighbourhood  of  our  city.  In  the  works,  too,  of 
Democritus,  already  mentioned,36  we  find  a  recipe  for  the  compo- 
sition of  a  medicament  which  will  ensure  the  procreation  of 
issue,  both  sure  to  be  good  and  fortunate. — What  king  of  Persia, 
pray,  ever  obtained  that  blessing  ?  It  really  would  be  a  mar- 
vellous fact  that  human  credulity,  taking  its  rise  originally  in 
the  very  soundest  of  notions,  should  have  ultimately  arrived  at 
such  a  pitch  as  this,  if  the  mind  of  man  understood,  under  any 
circumstances,  how  to  keep  within  the  bounds  of  modera- 
tion ;  and  if  the  very  system  of  medicine  thus  introduced  by 
Asclepiades,  had  not  been  carried  to  a  greater  pitch  of  extra- 
vagance than  the  follies  of  magic  even,  an  assertion  which 
I  shall  prove  on  a  more  appropriate  occasion.37 

Such,  however,  is  the  natural  constitution  of  the  human 
mind,  that,  be  the  circumstances  what  they  may,  commencing 
with  what  is  necessary  it  speedily  arrives  at  the  point  of 
launching  out  in  excess. 

We  will  now  resume  our  account  of  the  medicinal  properties 
of  the  plants  mentioned  in  the  preceding  Book,  adding  to  our 
description  such  others  as  the  necessities  of  the  case  may  seern 
to  require. 


As  to  the  treatment  of  lichen,  so  noisome  a  disease  as  it  is, 
we  shall  here  give  a  number  of  additional  remedies  for  it, 
gathered  from  all  quarters,  although  those  already  described 
are  by  no  means  few  in  number.  For  the  cure  of  lichen 
plantago  is  used,  pounded,  cinquefoil  also,  root  of  albucus38  in 
combination  with  vinegar,  the  young  shoots  of  the  fig-tree 
boiled  in  vinegar,  or  roots  of  marsh-mallow  boiled  down  to 
one-fourth  with  glue  and  vinegar.  The  sores  are  rubbed  also 
with  pumice,  and  then  fomented  with  root  of  rumex39  bruised 
in  vinegar,  or  with  scum  of  viscus40  kneaded  up  with  lime.  A 
decoction,  too,  of  tithymalos41  with  resin  is  highly  esteemed  for 
the  same  purpose. 

But  to  all  these  remedies  the  plant  known  as  "  lichen,"  from 

36  In  B.  xxiv.  c.  102.  3*  In  B.  xxix.  c.  5. 

38  See  B.  xxi.  c.  68.  39  See  B.  xx.  c.  85. 

»  "  Flos  visci."  «  See  c.  39  of  this  Book. 

Chap.  12.]  SCROFULA.  161 

its  efficacy  as  a  cure,  is  held  in  preference.  It  is  found  grow- 
ing among  rocks,  and  has  a  single  broad  leaf 42  near  the  root, 
and  a  single  long  stem,  with  small  leaves  hanging  from  it. 
This  plant  has  the  property  also  of  effacing  brand  marks, 
being  beaten  up  with  honey  for  that  purpose.  There  is  another 
kind43  of  lichen  also,  which  adheres  entirely  to  rocks,  like 
moss,  and  which  is  equally  used  as  a  topical  application.  The 
juice  of  it,  dropt  into  wounds,  or  applied  to  abscesses,  has  the 
property  of  arresting  haemorrhage :  mixed  with  honey,  it  is 
curative  of  jaundice,  the  face  and  tongue  being  rubbed  with 
it.  Under  this  mode  of  treatment,  the  patient  is  recommended 
to  wash  in  salt  water,  to  anoint  himself  with  oil  of  almonds, 
and  to  abstain  from  garden  vegetables.  For  the  cure  of 
lichen,  root  of  thapsia44  is  also  used,  bruised  in  honey. 


For  the  treatment  of  quinzy,  we  find  argemonia45  recom- 
mended, in  wine;  a  decoction  of  hyssop,  boiled  with  figs, 
used  as  a  gargle  ;  peucedanum,46  with  an  equal  proportion  of 
sea-calf's  rennet;  proserpinaca,47  beaten  up  in  the  pickle  of  the 
maena48  and  oil,  or  else  placed  beneath  the  tongue;  as  also 
juice  of  cinquefoil,  taken  in  doses  of  three  cyathi.  Used  as  a 
gargle,  juice  of  cinquefoil  is  good  for  the  cure  of  all  affections 
of  the  fauces :  verbascum,49  too,  taken  in  wine,  is  particularly 
useful  for  diseases  of  the  tonsillary  glands. 

CHAP.  12.  (5.) — SCROFULA. 

For  the  cure  of  scrofula50  plantago  is  employed,  chelidonia61 
mixed  with  honey  and  axle-grease,  cinquefoil,  and  root  of  per- 

42  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Marchantia  polymorpha  of  Linnaeus,  Com- 
mon Marchantia,  or  Fountain  liverwort,  the  male  plant. 

43  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Marchantia  stellata,  Star-headed  Mar- 
chantia, or  Female  fountain  liverwort.      Desfontaines  takes  it  to  be  either 
the  Marchantia  conica,  or  the  Peltidea  caiiina.     It  must  be  remembered 
that  the  Marchantia  is  not  a  Lichen  in  the  modern  acceptation  of  the  word, 
and  that  our  Lichens  are  destitute  of  stem.    Littre  identifies  it  with  the 
Lecanora  parella. 

44  See  B.  xiii.  c.  43.  «  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66. 

46  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  47  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  104. 

**  See  B.  ix.  c.  42.  49  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73. 

50  Fee  remarks  that  none  of  the  plants  here  mentioned  are  of  any  utility 
for  the  cure  of  scrofula.  51  See  B.  xxv.  c.  50. 

VOL.    V.  M 

162  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVI. 

solata52 — this  last  being  applied  topically,  and  covered  with  the 
leaf  of  the  plant — artemisia,53  also,  and  an  infusion  of  the 
root  of  mandragora54  in  water.  The  large-leaved  sideritis,65 
cleft  hy  the  left  hand  with  a  nail,  is  worn  attached  as  an 
amulet :  but  after  the  cure  has  been  effected,  due  care  must  be 
taken  to  preserve  the  plant,  in  order  that  it  may  not  be  set 
again,  to  promote  the  wicked  designs  of  the  herbalists  and  so 
cause  the  disease  to  break  out  afresh  ;  as  sometimes  happens  in 
the  cases  already  mentioned,66  and  others  which  I  find  stated, 
in  reference  to  persons  cured  by  the  agency  of  artemisia  or 

Damasonion,57  also  known  as  alcea,  is  gathered  at  the  summer 
solstice,  and  applied  with  rain-water,  the  leaves  being  beaten 
up,  or  the  root  pounded,  with  axle- grease,  so  as  to  admit,  when 
applied,  of  being  covered  with  a  leaf  of  the  plant.  The  same 
plan  is  adopted  also  for  the  cure  of  all  pains  in  the  neck,  and 
tumours  on  all  parts  of  the  body. 


Bellis88  is  the  name  of  a  plant  that  grows  in  the  fields,  with 
a  white  flower  somewhat  inclining  to  red ;  if  this  is  applied 
with  artemisia,59  it  is  said,  the  remedy  is  still  more  efficacious. 


The  condurdum,60  too,  is  a  plant  with  a  red  blossom,  which 
flowers  at  the  summer  solstice.  Suspended  from  the  neck,  it 

52  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66. 

53  See  B.  xxv.  c.  36.  54  See  B.  xxv.  c.  94. 

65  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19,  where  our  author  has  confused  the  Achillea  with 
the  Sideritis ;  also  c.  15,  where  he  describes  the  Heraclion  siderion.  Fee 
identifies  the  Sideritis  mentioned  in  B.  xxv.  c.  19,  as  having  a  square  stem 
and  leaves  like  those  of  the  quercus,  with  the  Stachys  heraclea  of  modern 
botany.  That  mentioned  in  the  same  Chapter,  as  having  a  fetid  smell,  he 
identifies  with  the  Phellandrium  mutellina  of  Linnseus.  The  large-leaved 
Sideritis  is,  no  doubt,  the  one  mentioned  as  having  leaves  like  those  of 
the  quercus.  See  the  Note  to  B.  xxv.  c.  19. 

56  In  B.  xxi.  c.  83,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  119.  57  See  B.  xxv.  c.  77. 

58  Probably  the  Bellis  perennis  of  Linnasus,  the  Common  daisy.     Fee 
remarks,  that  it  was  probably  unknown  to  the  Greeks. 

59  See  B.  xxv.  c.  36. 

60  Identified  by  Sprengel  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Saponaria  vaccaria, 
the  Perfoliate  soapwort.     Other  commentators  have  suggested  the  Valeriana 
rubra,  but  Fee  thinks  that  its  synonym  has  not  been  hitherto  discovered. 

Chap.  15.]  COUGH.  163 

arrests  scrofula,  they  say :  the  same  being  the  case  also  with 
vervain,  in  combination  with  plantago.  For  the  cure  of  all 
diseases  of  the  fingers,  hangnails  in  particular,  cinquefoil  is 

CHAP.  15. — COUGH. 

Of  all  diseases  of  the  chest,  cough  is  the  one  that  is  the 
most  oppressive.  For  the  cure  of  this  malady,  root  of  pa- 
naces 61  in  sweet  wine  is  used,  and  in  cases  where  it  is  attended 
with  spitting  of  blood,  juice  of  henbane.  Henbane,  too,  used  as 
a  fumigation,  is  good  for  cough ;  and  the  same  with  scordotis,62 
mixed  with  nasturtium  and  dry  resin,  beaten  up  with  honey : 
employed  by  itself  also,  scordotis  facilitates  expectoration,  a 
property  which  is  equally  possessed  by  the  greater  centaury, 
even  where  the  patient  is  troubled  with  spitting  of  blood ;  for 
which  last  juice  of  plantago  is  very  beneficial.  Betony,  taken 
in  doses  of  three  oboli  in  water,  is  useful  for  purulent  or 
bloody  expectorations :  root  also  of  persolata,68  in  doses  of 
one  drachma,  taken  with  eleven  pine-nuts ;  and  juice  of  peu- 

For  pains  in  the  chest,  acoron85  is  remarkably  useful ;  hence 
it  is  that  it  is  so  much  used  an  ingredient  in  antidotes.  For 
cough,  daucus  <*  and  the  plant  scythice 67  are  much  employed, 
this  last  being  good,  in  fact,  for  all  affections  of  the  chest, 
coughs,  and  purulent  expectorations,  taken  in  doses  of  three 
oboli,  with  the  same  proportion  of  raisin  wine.  The  verbas- 
cum68  too,  with  a  flower  like  gold,  is  similarly  employed. 

(6.)  This  last-named  plant  is  so  remarkably  energetic,  that 
an  infusion  of  it,  administered  in  their  drink,  will  relieve 
beasts  of  burden,  not  only  when  troubled  with  cough,  but  when 
broken- winded  even — a  property  which  I  find  attributed  to 
gentian  also.  Root  of  cacalia69  chewed,  or  steeped  in  wine,  is 
good  for  cough  as  well  as  all  affections  of  the  throat.  Five 
sprigs  of  hyssop,  with  two  of  rue  and  three  figs,  act  detergently 
upon  the  thoracic  organs  and  allay  cough, 

61  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11.  62  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27. 

63  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66.  «*  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70. 

«5  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100.  65  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

67  See  B.  xxii.  c.  11,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  43.     Our  Liquorice  probably,  which, 
Fee  remarks,  as  also  figs  and  hyssop,  has  maintained  its  ancient  reputation 
as  a  pectoral. 

68  See  B.  XXY.  c.  73.  69  See  B.  xxv.  c.  85. 

164  PLINY'S  HATUBAL  HISTOEY.         [Book  XXVI. 

CHAP.    16.  —  BECHION,    OTHERWISE    KNOWN    AS     AECION, 

Bechion70  is  known  also  as  tussilago  :  there  are  two  kinds 
of  it.  "Wherever  it  is  found  growing  wild,  it  is  generally 
thought  that  there  is  a  spring  of  water  below,  and  it  is  looked 
upon  as  a  sure  sign  that  such  is  the  ease,  by  persons  in  search71 
of  water.  The  leaves  are  somewhat  larger  than  those  of 
ivy,  and  are  some  five  or  seven  in  number,  of  a  whitish  hue 
beneath,  and  a  pale  green  on  the  upper  surface,  The  plant  is 
destitute  of  stem,  blossom,  and  seed,  and  the  root  is  very 
diminutive.  Some  persons  are  of  opinion  that  this  bechion  is 
identical  with  the  arcion,  known  also  as  the  "  chamaeleuce."72 
The  smoke73  of  this  plant  in  a  dry  state,  inhaled  by  the  aid 
of  a  reed  and  swallowed,  is  curative,  they  say,  of  chronic 
cough  ;  it  is  necessary,  however,  at  each  inhalation  to  take  a 
draught  of  raisin  wine. 


There  is  another  bechion74  also,  known  to  some  persons  as 
"  sal  via,"75  and  bearing  a  strong  resemblance  to  verbascum. 
This  plant  is  triturated,  and  the  juice  strained  off  and  taken 
warm  for  cough  and  for  pains  in  the  side  :  it  is  considered 
very  beneficial  also  for  the  stings  of  scorpions  and  sea- 
dragons.76  It  is  a  good  plan,  too,  to  rub  the  body  with  this 
juice,  mixed  with  oil,  as  a  preservative  against  the  stings  of 
serpents.  A  bunch  of  hyssop  is  sometimes  boiled  down  with 
a  quarter  of  a  pound  of  honey,  for  the  cure  of  cough. 


For  the  cure  of  pains  in  the  side  and  chest,  verbascum77  is 
used  in  water,  with  rue  ;  powdered  betony  is  also  taken  in 
warm  water.  Juice  of  scordotis78  is  used  as  a  stomachic, 

70  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  85. 

71  "  Aquileges."  72  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  85. 

73  Dried  bechion,   o*  coltsfoot,  is  still  smoked  by  some  persons  for 
affections  of  the  chest. 

74  Generally  identified  with  the  Phlomos,  or  Verhascum  lychnitis  men- 
tioned in  B.  xxv.  c.  74.  75  "  Sage."     See  B.  xxv.  c,  73. 

76  See  B.  ix.  c.  43,  and  B.  xxxil  c.  53. 

T7  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73.  78  See  B.  xx.  c.  27. 

Chap.  19.]  MOLON   OB   SYEON.  165 

centaury  also,  gentian  taken  in  water,  and  plantago,  either 
eaten  with  the  food,  or  mixed  with  lentils  or  a  pottage  of 
alica.79  Betony,  which  is  in  general  prejudicial  to  the  stomach, 
is  remedial  for  some  stomachic  affections,  taken  in  drink  or 
chewed,  the  leaves  being  used  for  the  purpose.  In  a  similar 
manner  too,  aristolochia80  is  taken  in  drink,  or  dried  agaric  is 
chewed,  a  draught  of  undiluted  wine  being  taken  every  now 
and  then.  Nymphsea  heraclia81  is  also  applied  topically  in 
these  cases,  and  juice  of  peucedanum.82  For  burning  pains  in 
the  stomach  psyUion83  is  applied,  or  else  cotyledon84  beaten  up 
with  polenta,  or  aizoiim.85 


Molon86  is  a  plant  with  a  striated  stem,  a  soft  diminutive 
leaf,  and  a  root  four  fingers  in  length,  at  the  extremity  of 
which  there  is  a  head  like  that  of  garlic  ;  by  some  persons  it 
is  known  as  "  syron."  Taken  in  wine,  it  is  curative  of  affec- 
tions of  the  stomach,  and  of  hardness  of  breathing.  For  similar 
purposes  the  greater  centaury  is  used,  in  an  electuary ;  juice 
also  of  plantago,  or  else  the  plant  itself,  eaten  with  the  food ; 
pounded  betony,  in  the  proportion  of  one  pound  to  half  an 
ounce  of  Attic  honey,  taken  daily  in  warm  water ;  and  aristo- 
lochia87 or  agaric,  taken  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  in  warm  water 
or  asses'  milk. 

For  hardness  of  breathing  an  infusion  of  cissanthemos*8  is 
taken  in  drink,  and  for  the  same  complaint,  as  also  for  asthma, 
hyssop.  For  pains  in  the  liver,  chest,  and  side,  if  unattended 
with  fever,  juice  of  peucedanum  is  used.  For  spitting  of 
blood  agaric  is  employed,  in  doses  of  one  victoriatus,89  bruised 
and  administered  in  five  cyathi  of  honied  wine :  amomum,90 
too,  is  equally  useful  for  that  purpose.  For  liver  diseases  in 

79  See  B.  xviii.  c.  29.    Fee  observes  that  none  of  these  prescriptions 
would  be  countenanced  at  the  present  day. 

80  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54.  81  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37. 
82  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  83  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90. 
84  See  B.  xxv.  c.  101.  85  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102. 

86  Possibly  the  same  plant  as  the  "  Moly  "  of  B.  xxv.  c.  8.     If  so,  as 
Fee  says,  it  would  appear  to  belong  to  the  genus  Allium,  or  garlic. 

87  See  B.  xxv.  c.  84.  **  See  B.  xxv.  c.  68. 

89  See  Introduction  to  Vol.  III. 

90  See  B.  xii.  c.  28.    Fee  says  that  none  of  these  so-called  remedies 
would  now  be  recognised. 

166  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVI. 

particular,  teucria91  is  taken  fresh,  in  doses  of  four  drachmae 
to  one  hemina  of  oxycrate  ;  or  else  betony,  in  ^the  proportion 
of  one  drachma  to  three  cyathi  of  warm  water.  For  diseases 
of  the  heart,  betony  is  recommended,  in  doses  of  one  drachma 
to  two  cyathi  of  cold  water.  Juice  of  cinquefoil  is  remedial 
for  diseases  of  the  liver  and  lungs,  and  for  spitting  of  blood  as 
well  as  all  internal  affections  of  the  blood.  The  two  varieties 
of  anagallis92  are  wonderfully  efficacious  for  liver  complaints. 
Patients  who  eat  the  plant  called  "  capnos"93  discharge  the 
bile  by  urine.  Acoron94  is  also  remedial  for  diseases  of  the  liver, 
and  daueus95  is  useful  for  the  thorax  and  the  pectoral  organs. 


The  ephedra,96  by  some  persons  called  "  anabasis/ '  mostly 
grows  in  localities  exposed  to  the  wind.  It  climbs  the  trunks  of 
trees,  and  hangs  down  from  the  branches,  is  destitute  of  leaves, 
but  has  numerous  suckers,  join  ted  like  a  bulrush;  the  root 
is  of  a  pale  colour.  This  plant  is  given,  pounded,  in  astringent 
reel  wine,  for  cough,  asthma,  and  gripings  in  the  bowels.  It 
is  administered  also  in  the  form  of  a  pottage,  to  which  some 
wine  should  be  added.  For  these  complaints,  gentian  is  also 
used,  being  steeped  in  water  the  day  before,  and  then  pounded 
and  given  in  doses  of  5ne  denarius,  in  three  cyathi  of  wine. 


Geum97  is  a  plant  with  thin,  diminutive  roots,  black,  and 
aromatic.98  It  is  curative  not  only  of  pains  in  the  chest  and 
sides,  but  is  useful  also  for  dispelling  crudities,  owing  to  its 
agreeable  flavour.  Yervain,  too,  is  good  for  all  affections  of 
the  viscera,  and  for  diseases  of  the  sides,  lungs,  liver,  and 

91  See  B.  xxv.  c.  20.  92  See  B.  xxv.  c.  92. 

93  See  B.  xxv.  c.  99.  9i  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100. 

95  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

96  Probably  the  Equisetum  silvaticum  of  Linnaeus,  our  Wild  horse-tail. 
He  is  in  error  in  saying  that  it  climbs  the  trunks  of  trees  ;  a  mistake  also 
made  by  Dioscorides,  B.  iv.  c.  46,  who  calls  it  "  hippuris."     It  is  said  by 
some  to  be  a  strong  diuretic.     Littre,  however,  gives  as  its  synonym  the 
Ephedra  fragilis  of  Linnaeus. 

97  The  Geum  urbanum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Common  avens,  or  herb  bennet. 
It  was  probably  unknown  to  the  Greeks. 

98  Its  root  has  a  smell  like  that  of  cloves,  for  which  reason  it  is  some- 
times known  as  <c  Caryophyllata." 

Chap.  24.]  THE   MALUNDBUM.  167 

thorax.  But  one  invaluable  remedy  for  diseases  of  the  lungs, 
and  for  cases  of  incipient  phthisis,  is  the  root  of  consiligo,  a 
plant  only  very  recently  discovered,  as  already"  mentioned.  It 
is  a  most  efficient  remedy  also  for  pulmonary  diseases  in  swine 
and  cattle,  even  though  only  passed  through  the  ear  of  the 
animal.  When  used,  it  should  be  taken  in  water,  and  kept 
for  a  considerable  time  in  the  mouth,  beneath  the  tongue. 
Whether  the  part  of  this  plant  which  grows  above  ground  is 
useful  or  not  for  any  purpose,  is  at  present  unknown.  Plantago, 
eaten  with  the  food,  betony  taken  in  drink,  and  agaric  taken 
in  the  way  prescribed  for  cough,  are  useful,  all  of  them,  for 
diseases  of  the  kidneys. 


Tripolium1  is  a  plant  found  growing  upon  cliffs  on  the 
sea-shore  against  which  the  waves  break,  springing  up,  so  to 
say,  neither  upon  dry  land  nor  in  the  sea.  The  leaves  are 
like  those  of  isatis,2  only  thicker  ;  the  stem  is  a  palm  in  height 
and  divided  at  the  extremity,  and  the  root  white,  thick,  and 
odoriferous,  with  a  warm  flavour ;  it  is  recommended  for 
diseases  of  the  liver,  boiled  with  spelt.  This  plant  is  thought 
by  some  to  be  identical  with  polium^  of  which  we  have  already 
spoken  in  the  appropriate  place.3 


Gromphaena4  is  the  name  of  a  plant,  the  stem  of  which  is 
covered  with  leaves  of  a  green  and  rose  colour,  arranged  alter- 
nately. The  leaves  of  it  are  administered  in  oxy crate,  in 
cases  of  spitting  of  blood. 


For  diseases  of  the  liver  the  malundrum 6  is  prescribed,  a 

99  In  B.  xxv.  c.  48. 

1  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Plumbago  of  B.  xxv.  c.  22.    F£e  is 
not  of  that  opinion,  and  agrees  with  Matthioli  in  considering  it  to  he  the 
Aster  tripolium  of  Linnaeus,  the  Sea  starwort.     Littre  gives  the  Statice 
limonium  of  Linnaeus. 

2  See  B.  xx.  c.  25.  «  In  B.  xxi.  c.  21. 

4  Sprengel  and  Desfontaines  identify  it  with  the  Amaranthus  tricolor ; 
Fee  is  strongly  of  opinion  that  it  has  not  been  correctly  identified. 

5  Clusius  and  Sprengel  identify  it  with  the  Lychnis  silvestris  of  Lin- 
naeus, the  Wild  lychnis  or  Vi'scous  catchfly.     Fee  considers  it  to  be  un- 

168  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XZVI. 

plant  which  grows  in  meadows  and  corn-fields,  with  a  white 
odoriferous  flower.  The  stem  is  diminutive,  and  is  beaten  up 
in  old  wine. 



Chalcetum6  also  is  the  name  of  a  plant,  which  is  pounded 
with  grape  husks  and  applied  topically,  for  the  cure  of  liver 
complaints.  Boot  of  betony  acts  as  a  gentle  emetic,  taken  in 
the  same  way  as  hellebore,  in  doses  of  four  drachmse  in 
raisin  wine  or^  honied  wine.  Hyssop,  too,  is  beaten  up  with 
honey  for  similar  purposes ;  but  it  is  more  efficacious  if  nas- 
turtium or  irio7  is  taken  first. 

Molemonium8  is  used  as  an  emetic,  being  taken  in  doses  of  one 
denarius  ;  the  same,  too,  with  sillybum.9  Both  of  these  plants 
have  a  milky  juice,  which  thickens  like  gum,  and  is  taken  with 
honey  in  the  proportions  above-mentioned,  being  particularly 
good  for  carrying  off  bile.  On  the  other  hand,  vomiting  is 
arrested  by  the  use  of  wild  cummin  or  powdered  betony, 
taken  in  water.  Crudities  and  distaste  for  food  are  dispelled, 
and  the  digestion  promoted  by  employing  daucus,10  powdered 
betony11  taken  in  hydroinel,  or  else  plantago  boiled  like 
greens.  Hiccup  is  arrested  by  taking  hemionium12  or  aristo- 
lochia,13  and  asthma  by  the  use  of  clymenus.14  For  pleurisy 
and  peripneumony,  the  greater  centaury  is  used,  or  else 
hyssop,  taken  in  drink.  Juice  of  peucedanum 15  is  also  good 
for  pleurisy. 

known,  but  of  the  two,  would  prefer  the  Lychnis  dioica  of  Linnaeus,  the 
"White  lychnis,  or  "White  campion. 

6  C.  Bauhin  identifies  it  with  the  Valeriana  locusta  of  Linnaeus,  Corn 
Talerian,  Corn-salad,  or  Lamb's  lettuce.  Fee  considers  its  identity  as  still 
unknown.  7  See  B.  xviii.  c.  10. 

8  Perhaps  the  same  as  the  Limonium  of  B.  xxv.  c.  61. 

9  See   B.  xxii.  c.  42 ;   one  of  the  Sonchi,  probably,  which  contain  a 
milky  juice.    Littre"  gives  the  Sonchus  palustris  of  Linnaeus. 

10  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

11  The  Betonica  officinalis  of  Linnaeus. 

12  Either  the  Asplenium  ceterach  of  Linnaeus,  Spleenwort,  Ceterach,  or 
Miltwaste,  or  the  A.  hemionitis  of  Linnaeus,  Mule's  fern.    See  B.  xxvii.  c.  17. 

is  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54.  u  See  B.  xxv.  c.  33. 

is  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70. 

Chap.  28.]           BEMEDIES  FOE  DISEASES  OF  THE  BELLY.  169 


The  plant  halus,16  by  the  people  of  Gaul  called  "sil,"  and 
by  the  Veneti  "  cotonea,"  is  curative  of  pains  in  the  side, 
affections  of  the  kidneys,  ruptures,  and  convulsions.  It  resem- 
bles cunila  bubula17  in  appearance,  and  the  tops  of  it  are  like 
those  of  thyme.  It  is  of  a  sweet  flavour,  and  allays  thirst;  the 
roots  of  it  are  sometimes  white,  sometimes  black. 



The  chamserops,18  also,  is  similarly  efficacious  for  pains  in 
the  side.  It  is  a  plant  with  leaves  like  those  of  myrtle, 
arranged  in  pairs  around  the  stem,  the  heads  of  it  resembling 
those  of  the  Greek  rose :  it  is  taken  in  wine.  Agaric,  admin- 
istered in  drink,  in  the  same  manner19  as  for  cough,  assuages 
sciatica  and  pains  in  the  vertebrae  :  the  same,  too,  with  pow- 
dered stoechas20  or  betony,  taken  in  hydromel. 

CHIP.  28.    (8.) REMEDIES   FOR   DISEASES    OF   THE   BELLY. 

But  it  is  the  belly,  for  the  gratification  of  which  the  greater 
part  of  mankind  exist,  that  causes  the  most  suffering  to  man. 
Thus,  for  instance,  at  one  time  it  will  not  allow  the  aliments 
to  pass,  while  at  another  it  is  unable  to  retain  them.  Some- 
times, again,  it  either  cannot  receive  the  food,  or,  if  it  can, 
cannot  digest  it ;  indeed,  such  are  the  excesses  practised  at 
the  present  day,  that  it  is  through  his  aliment,  more  than  any- 
thing else,  that  man  hastens  his  end.  This  receptacle,21  more 
troublesome  to  us  than  any  other  part  of  the  body,  is  ever  craving, 
like  some  importunate  creditor,  and  makes  its  calls  repeatedly 
in  the  day.  It  is  for  its  sake,  more  particularly,  that  avarice 
is  so  insatiate,  for  its  sake  that  luxury  is  so  refined,22  for  its  sake 
that  men  voyage  to  the  shores  even  of  the  Phasis,  for  its  sake 
that  the  very  depths  of  the  ocean  are  ransacked.  And  yet, 
with  all  this,  no  one  ever  gives  a  thought  how  abject  is  the 
condition  of  this  part  of  our  body,  how  disgusting  the  results 
of  its  action  upon  what  it  has  received  !  No  wonder  then, 

16  For  the  identity  of  this  plant,  see  B.  xxvii.  c.  24. 

17  See  B.  xix.  c.  50,  and  B.  xx.  c.  61. 

18  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  80.  19  See  c.  18  of  this  Book. 

20  Identified  with  the  Lavendula  stoaehas  of  Linnaeus,  the  French  lavender. 
81  "  Vas."  22  In  search  of  pheasants.     See  B.  vi.  c.  4, 

170  PLIGHT'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVI. 

that  the  belly  should  have  to  be  indebted  to  the  aid  of  medicine 
in  the  very  highest  degree  ! 

Scordotis,23  fresh-gathered  and  beaten  up,  in  doses  of  one 
drachma,  with  wine,  arrests  flux  of  the  bowels ;  an  effect 
equally  produced  by  a  decoction  of  it  taken  in  drink.  Pole- 
monia,24  too,  is  given  in  wine  for  dysentery,  or  two  fingers' 
length  of  root  of  verbascum,25  in  water ;  seed  of  nyruphsea 
heraclia,26  in  wine ;  the  upper  root  of  xiphion,27  in  doses  of  one 
drachma,  in  vinegar ;  seed  of  plantago,  beaten  up  in  wine ; 
plantago  itself  boiled  in  vinegar,  or  else  a  pottage  of  alica28 
mixed  with  the  juice  of  the  plant;  plantago  boiled  with 
lentils ;  plantago  dried  and  powdered,  and  sprinkled  in  drink, 
with  parched  poppies  pounded ;  juice  of  plantago,  used  as  an 
injection,  or  taken  in  drink ;  or  be  tony  taken  in  wine  heated 
with  a  red-hot  iron.  For  cceliac  affections,  betony  is  taken  in 
astringent  wine,  or  iberis  is  applied  topically,  as  already29 
stated.  For  tenesmus,  root  of  nymphaea  heraclia  is  taken  in 
wine,  or  else  psyllion30  in  water,  or  a  decoction  of  root  of 
acoron.31  Juice  of  aizotim32  arrests  diarrhoea  and  dysentery,  and 
expels  round  tape-worm.  Eoot  of  symphytum,83  taken  in  wine, 
arrests  diarrhoea  and  dysentery,  and  daucus34  has  a  similar 
effect.  Leaves  of  aizoiim35  beaten  up  in  wine,  and  dried 
alcea36  powdered  and  taken  in  wine,  are  curative  of  griping 
pains  in  the  bowels. 


Astragalus37  is  the  name  of  a  plant  which  has  long  leaves, 
with  numerous  incisions,  and  running  aslant  near  the  root. 
The  stems  are  three  or  four  in  number,  and  covered  with  leaves : 
the  flower  is  like  that  of  the  hyacinth,  and  the  roots  are  red, 
hairy,  matted,  and  remarkably  hard.  It  grows  on  stony  local- 

23  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27.  24  See  B.  xxv.  c.  28. 

25  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73.  26  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37. 

27  See  B.  xxv.  c.  89.  28  See  B.  xviii.  c.  29. 

29  In  B.  xxv.  c.  84.  30  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90. 

31  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100.  32  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102. 

33  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  24.  34  See  B.  xxv.  c.  84. 

35  See  Note  32  above.  S6  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  6. 

37  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Phaca  Baetica,  Spanish  bastard  vetch  ; 
but  the  flowers  of  that  plant,  as  Fee  remarks,  are  yellow.  He  considers 
it  to  be  the  Lathyrus  tuberosus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Pease  earth-nut.  Littre 
gives  the  Orobus  sessilifolius  of  3ibthorp. 

Chap.  30.]  LADANUM.  171 

ities,  equally  exposed  to  the  sun  and  to  falls  of  snow,  those  in 
the  vicinity  of  Pheneus  in  Arcadia,  for  instance.  Its  proper- 
ties are  highly  astringent;  the  root  of  it,  taken  in  wine,  arrests 
looseness  of  the  bowels,  having  the  additional  effect  of  throw- 
ing downward  the  aqueous  humours,  and  so  acting  as  a  diuretic ; 
a  property,  in  fact,  which  belongs  to  most  substances  which 
act  astringently  upon  the  bowels. 

Bruised  in  red37*  wine,  this  plant  is  curative  of  dysentery  ; 
it  is  only  bruised,  however,  with  the  greatest  difficulty.  It  is 
extremely  useful,  also,  as  a  fomentation  for  gum-boils.  The 
end  of  autumn  is  the  time  for  gathering  it,  after  the  leaves  are 
off;  it  being  then  left  to  dry  in  the  shade. 


Diarrhoea  may  be  also  arrested  by  the  use  of  either  kind  of 
ladanum.38  The  kind  which  is  found  in  corn-fields  is  pounded 
for  this  purpose,  and  then  passed  through  a  sieve,  being  taken 
either  in  hydromel,  or  in  wine  of  the  highest  quality.  "Ledon" 
is  the  name  of  the  plant  from  which  ladanum39  is  obtained  in 
Cyprus,  it  being  found  adhering  to  the  beard  of  the  goats 
there ;  the  most  esteemed,  however,  is  that  of  Arabia.40  At 
the  present  day,  it  is  prepared  in  Syria  and  Africa  also,  being 
known  as  "toxicum,"  from  the  circumstance  that  ingathering 
it,  they  pass  over  the  plant  a  bow,41  with  the  string  stretched, 
and  covered  with  wool,  to  which  the  dewlike  flocks  of  lada- 
num adhere.  "We  have  described  it  at  further  length,  when 
treating  of  the  perfumes.42 

This  substance  has  a  very  powerful  odour,  and  is  hard  in  the 
extreme  ;  for,  in  fact,  there  is  a  considerable  quantity  of  earth 
adhering  to  it :  it  is  most  esteemed  when  in  a  pure  state, 
aromatic,  soft,  green,  and  resinous.  It  is  of  an  emollient, 
desiccative,  and  ripening  nature,  and  acts  as  a  narcotic :  it  pre- 
vents the  hair  from  falling  off,  and  preserves  its  dark  colour.  In 
combination  with  hydromel  or  oil  of  roses,  it  is  used  as  an 

37*  "  Bubrum,"  and  not  "  nigrum,"  which  was  also  what  we  call  "  red  " 

38  Fee  is  unable  to  identify  it.  The  Galeopsis  ladanum  of  Linnaeus, 
the  Red  dead-nettle,  has  been  suggested,  but  on  insufficient  grounds,  pro- 
bably. 39  See  B.  xii.  c.  37. 

40  It  is  still  brought  from  the  islands  of  Greece,  but  no  longer  from 
Arabia.  41  TO£OJ/. 

«  In  B.  xii.  c.  37. 

172  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOBY.         [Book  XXVI. 

injection  for  the  ears ;  with  the  addition  of  salt,  it  is  employed 
for  the  cure  of  furfuraceous  eruptions  of  the  skin,  and  for  run- 
ning ulcers.  Taken  with  storax,  it  is  good  for  chronic  cough  ; 
it  is  also  extremely  efficacious  as  a  carminative. 


Chondris,  too,  or  pseudodictamnon,43  acts  astringently  on  the 
bowels.  Hypocisthis,44  by  some  known  also  as  "  orobethron," 
is  similar  to  an  unripe  pomegranate  in  appearance ;  it  grows, 
as  already  stated,45  beneath  the  cisthus,  whence  its  name. 
Dried  in  the  shade,  and  taken  in  astringent,  red  wine,  these 
plants  arrest  diarrhoea — for  there  are  two  kinds  of  hypocisthis, 
it  must  be  remembered,  the  white  and  the  red.  It  is  the  juice 
of  the  plant  that  is  used,  being  of  an  astringent,  desiccative, 
natuue  :  that  of  the  red  kind,  however,  is  the  best  for  fluxes 
of  the  stomach.  Taken  in  drink,  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  with 
amylum,46  it  arrests  spitting  of  blood  ;  and,  employed  either  as 
a  potion  or  as  an  injection,  it  is  useful  for  dysentery.  Vervain, 
too,  is  good  for  similar  complaints,  either  taken  in  water,  or, 
when  there  are  no  symptoms  of  fever,  in  Aminean47  wine,  the 
proportion  being  five  spoonfuls  to  three  cyathi  of  wine. 

CHAP.  32. — LAYER   OR    SlOtf  :    TWO   REMEDIES. 

Laver,48  too,  a  plant  which  grows  in  streams,  preserved  and 
boiled,  is  curative  of  griping  pains  in  the  bowels. 



Potamogiton,49  too,  taken  in  wine,  is  useful  for  dysentery 
and  cceliac  affections :  it  is  a  plant  similar  to  beet  in  the  leaves, 
but  smaller  and  more  hairy,  and  rising  but  little  above  the 
surface  of  the  water.  It  is  the  leaves  that  are  used,  being  of 
a  refreshing,  astringent  nature,  and  particularly  good  for 
diseases  of  the  legs,  and,  with  honey  or  vinegar,  for  corrosive 

13  "  False-dittany,"  or  "  bastard  dittany."     See  B.  xxv.  c.  53. 
44  The  Cytinus  hypocisthis  of  Linnaeus. 

15  In  B.  xxiv.  c.  28.  46  See  B.  xviii.  c.  17,  and  B.  xxii.  c.  67. 

*7  See  B.  xiv.  c.  5.  ™  The  Shim  of  B.  xxii.  c.  41. 

49  Probably  the  Potamogeton  natans  of  Linnaeus,  Broad-leaved  pond- 
weed,  or  some  kindred  plant.  Its  name  signifies  "  the  neighbour  of  rivers." 

Chap.  34.]  THE    CERATIA.  173 

Castor  has  given  a  different  description  of  this  plant.  Ac- 
cording to  him,  it  has  a  smaller  leaf,50  like  horse-hair,61  with  a 
long,  smooth,  stem,  and  grows  in  watery  localities.  "With  the 
root  of  it  he  used  to  treat  scrofulous  sores  and  indurations. 
Potamogiton  neutralizes  the  effects  of  the  bite  of  the  crocodile ; 
hence  it  is  that  those  who  go  in  pursuit  of  that  animal,  are  in 
the  hahit  of  carrying  it  about  them. 

Achillea62  also  arrests  looseness  of  the  bowels;  an  effect 
equally  produced  by  the  statice,53  a  plant  with  seven  heads,  like 
those  of  the  rose,  upon  as  many  stems. 



The  ceratia54  is  a  plant  with  a  single55  leaf,  and  a  large 
knotted  root:  taken  with  the  food,  it  is  curative  of  cceliac 
affections  and  dysentery. 

Leontopodion,66  a  plant  known  also  as  "  leuceoron,"  "  dori- 
petron,"  or  "  thorybethron,"  has  a  root  which  acts  astringently 
upon  the  bowels  and  carries  off  bile,  being  taken  in  doses  of 
two  denarii  in  hydromel.  It  grows  in  champaign  localities 
with  a  poor  soil:  the  seed,  taken  in  drink,  produces  night-mare,57 
it  is  said,  in  the  sleep. 

Lagopus58  arrests  diarrhoea,  taken  in  wine,  or,  if  there  are 
symptoms  of  fever,  in  water.  This  plant  is  attached  to  the 
groin,  for  tumours  in  that  part  of  the  body  :  it  grows  in  corn- 
fields. Many  persons  recommend,  in  preference  to  anything  else, 

50  C.  Bauhin  and  Sprengel  identify  the  plant  here  described  with  the 
Potamogeton  pusillum  of  Linnaeus  ;  but  Fee  considers  it  extremely  doubtful. 

51  A  species  of  Equisetum  would  seem  to  be  meant ;  indeed,  Littre  gives 
the  Equisetum  telmateia.  52  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19. 

53  Fee  thinks  that  this  may  possibly  be  the  Statice  Armeria  of  Linnaeus, 
Sea  thrift,  or  Sea  gilly-flower. 

54  Considered  by  Sprengel  to  be  the  Cyclaminos  chamaecissos  of  B.  xxv. 
c.  69,  which  he  identifies  with  the  Convallaria  bifolia  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Little  lily  of  the  valley,  or  May  lily.     Fabius  Columna  and  Brotero  con- 
sider it  to  be  the  Dentaria  trifolia,  Three-leaved  toothwort. 

55  This  is  incorrect,  if  it  is  the  Lily  of  the  valley. 

56  "  Lion's  paw,"    "  white  plant,"    or    "  rock-spear."      Probably  the 
Leontice  leontopetalum  of  Linnaeus,  Lion's  paw,  or  Lion's  leaf.    See  B. 
xxvii.  c.  72.  57  "  Lymphatica  somnia." 

58  "  Hare's  foot."  Possibly  the  Trifolium  arvense  of  Linnaeus,  Hare's 
foot  trefoil. 

174  PLINY'S  NATTTBAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVI. 

for  desperate  cases  of  dysentery,  a  decoction  of  roots  of  cinque  - 
foil  in  milk,  or  else  aristolochia,69  in  the  proportion  of  one 
victoriatus60  to  three  cyathi  of  wine.  In  the  case  of  the  pre- 
parations above-mentioned,  which  are  recommended  to  be  taken 
warm,  it  will  be  the  best  plan  to  heat  them  with  a  red-hot 

On  the  other  hand,  again,  the  juice  of  the  smaller  centaury 
acts  as  a  purgative  upon  the  bowels,  and  carries  off  bile,  taken, 
in  doses  of  one  drachma,  in  one  hemina  of  water  with  a  little 
salt  and  vinegar.  The  greater  centaury  is  curative  of  griping 
pains  in  the  bowels.  Be  tony,  also,  has  a  laxative  effect,  taken 
in  the  proportion  of  four  drachmae  to  nine  cyathi  of  hydromel : 
the  same,  too,  with  euphorbia61  or  agaric,  taken,  in  doses  of  two 
drachm ae,  with  a  little  salt,  in  water,  or  else  in  three  oboli  of 
honied  wine.  Cyclaminos,62  also,  is  a  purgative,  either  taken 
in  water  or  used  as  a  suppository ;  the  same,  too,  with  chamae- 
cissos,68  employed  as  a  suppository.  A  handful  of  hyssop, 
boiled  down  to  one  third  with  salt,  or  beaten  up  with  oxymel 
and  salt,  and  applied  to  the  abdomen,  promotes  pituitous 
evacuations,  and  expels  intestinal  worms.  Root  also  of  peu- 
cedanum64  carries  off  pituitous  humours  and  bile. 


The  two  kinds  of  anagallis,  taken  in  hydromel,  are  purgative ; 
the  same,  too,  with  epithymon,66  which  is  the  blossom  of  a 
sort66  of  thyme  similar  to  savory ;  the  only  difference  being  that 
the  flower  of  this  plant  is  nearer  grass  green,  while  that  of  the 
other  thyme  is  white.  Some  persons  call  it  "  hippopheos."67 
This  plant  is  by  no  means  wholesome  to  the  stomach,  as 
it  is  apt  to  cause  vomiting,  but  at  the  same  time  it  disperses 

59  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 

60  See  Introduction  to  Vol.  III.    Fee  remarks  that  none  of  the  assertions 
in  the  present  Chapter  are  confirmed  by  modern  experience. 

61  See  B.  xxv.  c.  38.  62  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67. 

63  See  B.  xxiv.  cc.  49,  84,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  69. 

64  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70. 

65  Identical  with  the  Orobanche  of  B.  xviii.  c.  44,  the  Cuscuta  Europaea 
of  Linnaeus,  Dodder,  Hell-weed,  or  Devil's  guts ;   or  else  the  Cuscuta 
minor,  or  epithymum  of  Linnaeus.     See  also  B.  xxii.  cc.  78,  80. 

66  He  is  in  error  here. 

67  Hardouin  suggests  "hypopheos,"  as  "  springing  up  under  the  Pheos" 
or  Sto3be,  mentioned  in  B.  xxii.  c.  13. 

Chap.  37,]  POLYPODIOK.  175 

flatulency  and  gripings  of  the  bowels.  It  is  taken  also,  in  the 
form  of  an  electuary,  for  affections  of  the  chest,  with  honey, 
or  in  some  cases,  with  iris.68  Taken  in  doses  of  from  four  to 
six  drachma,  with  honey  and  a  little  salt  and  vinegar,  it 
relaxes  the  bowels. 

Some  persons,  again,  give  a  different  description  of  epithymon : 
according  to  them,  it  is  a  plant  without89  a  root,  diminutive, 
and  bearing  a  flower  resembling  a  small  hood,  and  of  a  red  colour. 
They  tell  us,  too,  that  it  is  dried  in  the  shade  and  taken  in 
water,  in  doses  of  half  an  acetabulum ;  and  that  it  has  a  slightly 
laxative  effect  upon  the  bowels,  and  carries  off  the  pituitous 
humours  and  bile.  NymphaBa70  is  taken  for  similar  purposes, 
in  astringent  wine. 


Pycnocomon,71  too,  is  a  purgative.  It  is  a  plant  with  leaves 
like  those  of  rocket,  only  thicker  and  more  acrid  ;  the  root  is 
round,  of  a  yellow  colour,  and  with  an  earthy  smell.  The 
stem  is  quadrangular,  of  a  moderate  length,  thin,  and  sur- 
mounted with  a  flower  like  that  of  ocimum.72  It  is  found 
growing  in  rough  stony  soils.  The  root,  taken  in  doses  of  two 
denarii  in  ^hydromel,  acts  as  a  purgative  upon  the  bowels, 
and  effectually  carries  off  bile  and  pituitous  humours.  The 
seed,  taken  in  doses  of  one  drachma  in  wine,  is  productive  of 
dreams  and  restlessness.  Capnos,73  too,  carries  off  bile  by  the 


Polypodion,74  known  to  us  by  the  name  of  "  filicula,"  bears 
some  resemblance  to  fern.  The  root  of  it  is  used  medicinally  ; 

68  See  B.  xxi.  c.  19. 

69  It  has  a  root  originally,  but  the  root  withers  as  soon  as  it  has  attached 
itself  to  the  stem  of  the  plant  to  which  it  clings. 

70  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37.     Holland  says,  on  the  contrary,  that  it  is  a  binding 

71  "  Thick  hair."     It  is  generally  identified  with  the  Leonurus  mar- 
rubiastrum  of  Linnaeus.     Colurana  makes  it  to  be  the  Scabiosa  succisa  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Devil's  bit  scabious,  and  Brunsfeld  the  Angelica  silvestris  of 
Linnaeus,  Wild  angelica. 

72  See  B.  xxi.  c.  60.  73  See  B.  xxv.  c.  98. 

74  "  Many-footed."  The  Polypodium  vulgare  of  Linnaeus,  fhe  Common 

176  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book 

being  fibrous,  and  of  a  grass  green  colour  within,  about  the 
thickness  of  the  little  finger,  and  covered  with  cavernous 
suckers  like  those  on  the  arms  of  the  polypus.  This  plant  is  of 
a  sweetish75  taste,  and  is  found  growing  among  rocks  and  under 
trees.  The  root  is  steeped  in  water,  and  the  juice  extracted; 
sometimes,  too,  it  is  cut  in  small  pieces  and  sprinkled  upon 
cabbage,  beet,  mallows,  or  salt  meat ;  or  else  it  is  boiled  with 
pap,76  as  a  gentle  aperient  for  the  bowels,  in  cases  of  fever  even. 
It  carries  off  bile  also  and  the  pituitous  humours,  but  acts 
injuriously  upon  the  stomach.  Dried  and  powdered  and  ap- 
plied to  the  nostrils,  it  cauterizes  polypus'7  of  the  nose.  It  has 
neither  seed78  nor  flower. 


Scammony,79  also,  is  productive  of  derangement  of  the 
stomach.  It  carries  off  bile,  and  acts  strongly  as  a  purgative 
upon  the  bowels ;  unless,  indeed,  aloes  are  added,  in  the  propor- 
tion of  two  drachmae  of  aloes  to  two  oboli  of  scammony.  The 
drug  thus  called  is  the  juice  of  a  plant  that  is  branchy  from 
the  root,  and  has  unctuous,  white,  triangular,  leaves,  with 
a  solid,  moist  root,  of  a  nauseous  flavour :  it  grows  in  rich 
white  soils.  About  the  period  of  the  rising  of  the  Dog- 
star,  an  excavation  is  made  about  the  root,  to  let  the  juice 
collect :  which  done,  it  is  dried  in  the  sun  and  divided  into 
tablets.  The  root  itself,  too,  or  the  outer  coat  of  it,  is  some- 
times dried.  The  scammony  most  esteemed  is  that  of  Colophon, 
Mysia,  and  Priene.  In  appearance  it  ought  to  be  smooth  and 
shiny,  and  as  much  like  bull  glue  as  possible  :  it  should  present 
a  fungous  surface  also,  covered  with  minute  holes ;  should  melt 
with  the  greatest  rapidity,  have  a  powerful  smell,  and  be  sticky 
like  gum.  When  touched  with  the  tongue,  it  should  give  out 
a  white  milky  liquid ;  it  ought  also  to  be  extremely  light,  and 
to  turn  white  when  melted. 

75  It  is  for  this  reason  that  it  is  called  "reglisse,"  or  "liquorice,"  in 
some  parts  of  France.  It  contains  a  proportion  of  saccharine  matter, 
which  acts  as  a  purgative.  76  "  Pulticula." 

77  This  fancy  is  solely  based  on  the  accidental  resemblance  of  the  name. 

78  He  very  incorrectly  says  this  of  all  the  ferns.    See  B.  xxvii.  cc.  17, 
48,  and  55. 

79  The  produce  of  the  Convolvulus  scammonia  of  Linnaeus,  the  Scam- 
mony bind-weed.     The  scammony  of  Aleppo  is  held  in  the  highest  esteem, 
and  is  very  valuable.    That  of  Smyrna  also  is  largely  imported. 

Chap.  39.]  THE    TITHYMALOS    CHABACIA8.  1/7 

This  last  feature  is  recognized  in  the  spurious  scammony 
also,  a  compound  of  meal  of  fitches  and  juice  of  marine  tithy- 
malos,80  which  is  mostly  imported  from  Judea,  and  is  very  apt 
to  choke  those  who  use  it.  The  difference  may  be  easily 
detected,  however,  by  the  taste,  as  tithymalos  imparts  a  burn- 
ing sensation  to  the  tongue.  To  be  fully  efficacious,  scammony 
should  be  two81  years  old ;  before  or  after  that  age  it  is  useless. 
It  has  been  prescribed  to  be  taken  by  itself  also,  in  doses  of 
four  oboli,  with  hydromel  and  salt :  but  the  most  advantageous 
mode  of  using  it  is  in  combination  with  aloes,  care  being  taken 
to  drink  honied  wine  the  moment  it  begins  to  operate.  The 
root,  too,  is  boiled  down  in  vinegar  to  the  consistency  of  honey, 
and  the  decoction  used  as  a  liniment  for  leprosy.  The  head  is 
also  rubbed  with  this  decoction,  mixed  with  oil,  for  head-ache. 


The  tithymalos  is  called  by  our  people  the  "  milk  plant,"83 
and  by  some  persons  the  "goat  lettuce."83  They  say,  that  if 
characters  are  traced  upon  the  body  with  the  milky  juice  of 
this  plant,  and  powdered  with  ashes,  when  dry,  the  letters  will 
be  perfectly  visible ;  an  expedient  which  has  been  adopted 
before  now  by  intriguers,  for  the  purpose  of  communicating 
with  their  mistresses,  in  preference  to  a  correspondence  by 
letter.  There  are  numerous  varieties  of  this  plant.84  The 
first  kind  has  the  additional  name  of  "characias,"85  and  is 
generally  looked  upon  as  the  male  plant.  Its  branches  are 
about  a  finger  in  thickness,  red  and  full  of  juice,  five  or  six  in 
number,  and  a  cubit  in  length.  The  leaves  near  the  root  are 
almost  exactly  those  of  the  olive,  and  the  extremity  of  the 
stem  is  surmounted  with  a  tuft  like  that  of  the  bulrush  :  it  is 
found  growing  in  rugged  localities  near  the  sea-shore.  The 
seed  is  gathered  in  autumn,  together  with  the  tufts,  and  after 
being  dried  in  the  sun,  is  beaten  out  and  put  by  for  keeping. 

80  See  the  following  Chapters. 

51  This  assertion  is  erroneous ;  it  has  all  its  properties  in  full  vigour  im- 
mediately after  extraction,  and  retains  them  for  an  indefinite  period. 

82  "Herbalactaria." 

5  Because  goats  are  fond  of  it.     See  B.  xx.  c.  24. 

!4  Known  to  us  by  the  general  name  of  Euphorbia  of  Spurge. 

S5  The  Euphorbia  characias  of  Linnaeus,  Red  spurge.  An  oil  is  still 
extracted  from  the  seed  of  several  species  of  Euphorbia,  as  a  purgative ; 
but  they  are  in  general  highly  dangerous,  taken  internally 

VO*L.   V.  K 

178  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTOEY.         [Book  XXVI. 

As  to  the  juice,  the  moment  the  down  begins  to  appear 
upon  the  fruit,  the  branches  are  broken  off  and  the  juice  of 
them  is  received  upon  either  meal  of  fitches  or  else  figs,  and 
left  to  dry  therewith.  Five  drops  are  as  much  as  each  fig 
ought  to  receive  ;  and  the  story  is,  that  if  a  dropsical  patient 
eats  one  of  these  figs  he  will  have  as  many  motions  as  the  fig 
has  received  drops.  While  the  juice  is  being  collected,  due 
care  must  be  taken  not  to  let  it  touch  the  eyes.  From  the  leaves, 
pounded,  a  juice  is  also  extracted,  but  not  of  so  useful  a 
nature  as  the  other  kind :  a  decoction,  too,  is  made  from  the 

The  seed  also  is  used,  being  boiled  with  honey  and  made  up 
into  purgative 86  pills.  These  seeds  are  sometimes  inserted  in 
hollow  teeth  with  wax  :  the  teeth  are  rinsed  too,  with  a  de- 
coction of  the  root  in  wine  or  oil.  The  juice  is  used  externally 
for  lichens,  and  is  taken  internally  both  as  an  emetic  and  to 
promote  alvine  evacuation :  in  other  respects,  it  is  prejudicial  to 
the  stomach.  Taken  in  drink,  with  the  addition  of  salt,  it  car- 
ries off  pituitous  humours ;  and  in  combination  with  saltpetre,86* 
removes  bile.  In  cases  where  it  is  desirable  that  it  should  purge 
by  stool,  it  is  taken  .with  oxycrate,  but  where  it  is  wanted 
to  act  as  an  emetic,  with  raisin  wine  or  hydromel ;  three  oboli 
being  a  middling  dose. "  The  best  method,  however,  of  using  it, 
is  to  eat  the  prepared  figs  above-mentioned,  just  after  taking 
food.  In  taste,  it  is  slightly  burning  to  the  throat ;  indeed  it 
is  of  so  heating  a  nature,  that,  applied  externally  by  itself,  it 
raises  blisters  on  the  flesh,  like  those  caused  by  the  action  of 
fire.  Hence  it  is  that  it  is  sometimes  employed  as  a  cautery. 


A  second  kind  of  tithymalos  is  called  "myrtites  "87  by  some 
persons,  and  "  caryites  "  by  others.  It  has  leaves  like  those 
of  myrtle,  pointed  and  prickly,  but  with  a  softer  surface,  and 
grows,  like  the  one  already  mentioned,  in  rugged  soils.  The 
tufted  heads  of  it  are  gathered  just  as  barley  is  beginning  to 
swell  in  the  ear,  and,  after  being  left  for  nine  days  in  the  shade, 
are  thoroughly  dried  in  the  sun.  The  fruit  does  not  ripen  all  at 

96-  "  Catapotia."  86*  "  Aphronitrum."     See  B.  xxx.  c.46, 

87  The  Euohorbia  urn-smites  of  Linnaeus. 


once,  some,  indeed,  not  till  the  ensuing  year.  The  name  given  to 
this  fruit  is  the  "nut,"  whence  the  Greek  appellation  "cary- 
ites."88  It  is  gathered  at  harvest,  and  is  washed  and  dried,  being 
given  with  twice  the  quantity  of  black  poppy,  in  doses  of  one 
acetabulum  in  all. 

As  an  emetic,  this  kind  is  not  so  efficacious  as  the  preceding 
one,  and,  indeed,  the  same  may  be  said  of  all  the  others.  Some 
physicians  recommend  the  leaf  to  be  taken  in  the  manner 
already  mentioned,  but  say  that  the  nut  should  either  be  taken 
in  honied  wine  or  raisin  wine,  or  else  with  sesame.  It  carries 
off  pituitous  humours  and  bile  by  stool,  and  is  curative  of  ul- 
cerations  of  the  mouth.  For  corrosive  sores  of  the  mouth, 
the  leaf  is  eaten  with  honey. 


A  third  kind  of  tithymalos  is  known  by  the  additional  name- 
of  "  paralios,"89  or  else  as  "  ti  thy  mails."90  The  leaf  is  round, 
the  stem  a  palm  in  height,  the  branches  red,  and  the  seed  white. 
This  seed  is  gathered  just  as  the  grape  is  beginning  to  form,  and 
is  dried  and  pounded ;  being  taken  as  a  purgative,  in  doses  of 
one  acetabulum. 


A  fourth  kind  of  tithymalos91  is  known  by  the  additional 
name  of  "  helioscopios."92  It  has  leaves  like  those  of  purslain,93 
and  some  four  or  five  small  branches  standing  out  from  the  root, 
of  a  red  colour,  half  a  foot  in  height,  and  full  of  juice.  This 
plant  grows  in  the  vicinity  of  towns :  the  seed  is  white,  and 
pigeons94  are  remarkably  fond  of  it.  It  receives  its  additional 
name  of  "  helioscopios  "  from  the  fact  that  the  heads  of  it  turn95 
with  the  sun.  Taken  in  doses  of  half  an  acetabulum,  in 
oxymel,  it  carries  oif  bile  by  stool :  in  other  respects  it  has 
the  same  properties  as  the  characias,  above-mentioned. 

83  From  the  Greek  /cap vo v,  a  "nut." 
89  "  Sea-shore"  tithymalus.     See  B.  xx.  c.  80. 
0  The  Euphorbia  paralias  of  Linnaeus,  Sea  spurge. 
91  The  Euphorbia  helioscopia  of  Linnaeus,  Sun  spurge  or  "Wart-wort. 

93  'k  Sun-  watch  ing."  93  See  B.  xx.  c.  81. 

94  Fee  says  that  this  is  more  than  doubtful. 

95  An  assertion,  Fee  says,  not  confirmed  by  modern  observation. 

N  2 

180  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTOET.          [Book  XXVI. 


In  the  fifth  place  we  have  the  tithymalos  known  as  "  cypa- 
rissias,"96  from  the  resemblance  of  its  leaves  to  those  of  the 
cypress.  It  has  a  double  or  triple  stem,  and  grows  in  cham- 
paign localities.  Its  properties  are  exactly  similar  to  those  of 
the  helioscopios  and  characias. 



The  sixth  kind  is  called  "platyphyllos"97  by  some,  and 
"  corymbites  "  or  "  amygdalites  "  by  others,  from  its  resem- 
blance to  the  almond-tree.  The  leaves  of  this  kind  are  the 
largest  of  all :  it  has  a  fatal  effect  upon  fish.  An  infusion  of 
the  root  or  leaves,  or  the  juice,  taken  in  doses  of  four  drachmae, 
in  honied  wine,  or  hydromel,  acts  as  a  purgative.  It  is  par- 
ticularly useful  also  for  carrying  off  the  aqueous  humours. 



The  seventh  kind  has  the  additional  name  of  "dendroides,"9* 
and  is  known  by  some  persons  as  "cobios,"  and  by  others  as 
"  leptophyllos."99  It  grows  among  rocks,  and  is  by  far  the 
most  shrubby  of  all  the  varieties  of  the  tithymalos.  The, 
stems  of  it  are  small  and  red,  and  the  seed  is  remarkably  abun- 
dant. Its  properties  are  the  same  as  those  of  the  characias.1 



The  apios  ischas  or  raphanos  agria,2  throws  out  two  or 
three  rush-like  branches  of  a  red  colour,  creeping  upon  the 
ground,  and  bearing  leaves  like  those  of  rue.  The  root 
resembles  that  of  an  onion,  only  that  it  is  larger,  for  which 

96  The  Euphorbia  cyparissias  of  Linnaeus,  the  Cypress  spurge,  or  else  the 
Euphorbia  Aleppica  of  Linnseus. 

97  "  Broad-leaved,"   "  clustered,"  and  "  almond-like."      It  is  the  Eu- 
phorbia platyphyllos  of  Linnaeus,  the  Broad-leaved  spurge. 

98  "  Tree-like  " 

99  "  Small-leaved."    The  Euphorbia  dendroides  of  Linnaeus,  the  Shrubby 
spurge.  l  See  c.  39  above. 

2  "  Wild  radish."  Identified  Tvitfi  the  Euphorbia  apios  of  Linnseus,  a 
plant  with  dangerous  properties. 

Chap.  48.]  DISEASES   OF   THE   SPLEEN.  181 

reason  some  have  called  it  the  "  wild  radish."  The  interior 
of  this  root  is  composed  of  a  mammose  substance,  containing 
a  white  juice  :  the  outer  coat  is  black.  It  grows  in  rugged, 
mountainous  spots,  and  sometimes  in  pasture  lands.  It  is 
taken  up  in  spring,  and  pounded  and  put  into  an  earthen  vessel, 
that  portion  of  it  being  removed  which  floats  upon  the  surface. 
The  part  which  remains  acts  purgatively,  taken  in  doses  of 
an  obolus  and  a  half  in  hydromel,  both  as  an  emetic  and  by 
stool.  This  juice  is  administered  also,  in  doses  of  one  ace- 
tabulum,  for  dropsy. 

The  root  of  this  plant  is  dried  and  powdered,  and  taken  in 
drink :  the  upper  part  of  it,  they  say,  carries  off  bile  by  acting 
as  an  emetic,  the  lower  part,  by  promoting  alvine  evacuation. 


Every  kind  of  panaces3  is  curative  of  gripings  in  the  bowels  ; 
as  also  betony,  except  in  those  cases  where  they  arise  from 
indigestion.  Juice  of  peucedanum4  is  good  for  flatulency,  acting 
powerfully  as  a  carminative :  the  same  is  the  case,  also,  with 
root  of  acoron 5  and  with  daucus,6  eaten  like  lettuce  as  a  salad. 
Ladanum7  of  Cyprus,  taken  in  drink,  is  curative  of  intestinal 
affections ;  and  a  similar  effect  is  produced  by  powdered  gentian, 
taken  in  warm  water,  in  quantities  about  as  large  as  a  bean. 
For  the  same  purpose,  plantago8  is  taken  in  the  morning,  in 
doses  of  two  spoonfuls,  with  one  spoonful  of  poppy  in  four 
cyathi  of  wine,  due  care  being  taken  that  it  is  not  old  wine.  It 
is  given,  too,  at  the  last  moment  before  going  to  sleep,  and  with 
the  addition  of  nitre  or  polenta,9  if  a  considerable  time  has 
elapsed  since  the  last  meal.  For  colic,  an  injection  of  the  juice 
is  used,  one  hemina  at  a  time,  even  in  cases  where  fever  has 


Agaric,  taken  in  doses  of  three  oboli  in  one  cyathus  of  old 
wine,  is  curative  of  diseases  of  the  spleen.  The  same,  too, 
with  the  root  of  every  kind  of  panaces,10  taken  in  honied  wine  : 
teucria,11  also,  is  particularly  useful  for  the  same  purpose, 

3  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq.  4  See.B.  xxv.  c.  70. 

5  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100.  6  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

7  See  B.  xii.  c.  37,  and  c.  30  of  this  Book. 

8  See  "B.  xxv.  c.  39.  9  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 
10  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq.                      n  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  80. 

182  PLINY'S  NATUKAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVI. 

taken  in  a  dry  state,  or  boiled  down  in  the  proportion  of  one 
handful  to  three  heminae  of  vinegar.  Teucria,  too,  is  applied 
with  vinegar  to  wounds  of  the  spleen,  or,  if  the  patient  cannot 
bear  the  application  of  vinegar,  with  figs  or  water.  Polemo- 
nia 12  is  taken  in  wine,  and  betony,  in  doses  of  one  drachma, 
in  three  cyathi  of  oxymel :  aristolochia,  too,  is  used  in  the 
same  manner  as  for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents.13  Arge- 
monia,14  it  is  said,  taken  with  the  food  for  seven  consecutive 
days,  diminishes  the  volume  of  the  spleen ;  and  a  similar  effect 
is  attributed  to  agaric,  taken  in  doses  of  two  oboli,  in  oxymel. 
Eoot,  too,  of  nymph  sea  heraclia,15  taken  in  wine,  or  by  itself, 
diminishes  the  spleen. 

Cissanthemos,16  taken  twice  a  day,  in  doses  of  one  drachma 
in  two  cyathi  of  white  wine,  for  forty  consecutive  days, 
gradually  carries  off  the  spleen,  it  is  said,  by  urine.  Hyssop, 
boiled  with  figs,  is  very  useful  for  the  same  purpose :  root  of 
lonchitis,17  also,  boiled  before  it  has  shed  its  seed.  A  decoction 
of  root  of  peucedanum  18  is  good  for  the  spleen  and  kidneys. 
Acoron,19  taken  in  drink,  diminishes  the  spleen  ;  and  the  roots 
of  it  are  very  beneficial  for  the  viscera  and  iliac  regions.  Por 
similar  purposes,  seed  of  clymenus20  is  taken,  for  thirty  con- 
secutive days,  in  doses  of  one  denarius,  in  white  wine.  Powdered 
betony  is  also  used,  taken  in  a  potion  with  honey  and  squill 
vinegar;  root  too  of  lonchitis  is  taken  in  water.  Teucrium21 
is  used  externally  for  diseases  of  the  spleen  ;  scordium,22  also, 
in  combination  with  wax  ;  and  agaric,  mixed  with  powdered 


For  diseases  of  the  bladder  and  calculi  (affections  which,  as 
already  observed,23  produce  the  most  excruciating  torments), 
polemonia 24  is  highly  efficacious,  taken  in  wine ;  agaric  also, 
and  leaves  or  root  of  plantago,  taken  in  raisin  wine.  Betony, 

12  See  B.  xxv.  c.  28.  13  See  B.  xxv.  c,  55. 

14  See  B.  xxv.  c.  56.  15  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37. 

16  See  B.  xxv.  c.  68. 

17  See  B.  xxv.  c.  88.  Fee  says  that  it  is  the  Aspidium  lonchitis  of  Lin- 
naeus, that  is  meant.  18  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70. 

19  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100.  20  See  B,  xxv.  c.  33. 

21  See  B.  xxv.  c.  20. 

22  Or  Scordotis.     See  B.  xxv.  c.  27, 

23  In  B.  xxv.  c.  7.  24  See  B.  xxv,  c.  28. 

Chap.  50.]  CRETHMOS.  183 

too,  is  very  good,  as  already  observed,  when  speaking 25  of 
diseases  of  the  liver.  This  last  plant  is  used  also  for  hernia, 
applied  topically  or  taken  in  drink  :  it  is  remarkably  efficacious 
too  for  strangury.  For  calculi  some  persons  recommend 
betony,  vervain,  and  milfoil,  in  equal  proportions  in  water,  as 
a  sovereign  remedy.  It  is  universaDy  agreed,  that  dittany  is 
curative  of  strangury,  and  that  the  same  is  the  case  with 
cinquefoil,  boiled  down  to  one  third  in  wine  :  this  last  plant  is 
very  useful,  too,  taken  internally  and  applied  topically,  for 
rupture  of  the  groin. 

The  upper  part  of  the  root  of  xiphion26  has  a  diuretic  effect 
upon  infants  ;  it  is  administered  also  in  water  for  rupture  of 
the  groin,  and  is  applied  topically  for  diseases  of  the  bladder. 
Juice  of  peucedanum27  is  employed  for  hernia  in  infants,  and 
psyllion28  is  used  as  an  application  in  cases  of  umbilical 
hernia.  The  two  kinds  of  anagallis29  are  diuretic,  and  a 
similar  effect  is  produced  by  a  decoction  of  root  of  acoron,30  or 
the  plant  itself  bruised  and  taken  in  drink  ;  this  last  is 
good  too  for  all  affections  of  the  bladder.  Both  the  stem  and 
root  of  cotyledon31  are  used  for  the  cure  of  calculi ;  and  for  all 
inflammations  of  the  genitals,  myrrh  is  mixed  in  equal  propor- 
tions with  the  stem  and  seed.  The  more  tender  leaves  of 
ebulum,32  beaten  up  and  taken  with  wine,  expel  calculi  of  the 
bladder,  and  an  application  of  them  is  curative  of  diseases  of 
the  testes.  Erigeron,33  with  powdered  frankincense  and  sweet 
wine,  is  curative  of  inflammation  of  the  testes ;  and  root  of 
symphytum,34  applied  topically,  reduces  rupture  of  the  groin. 
The  white  hypocisthis35  is  curative  of  corroding  ulcers  of  the 
genitals.  Artemisia36  is  prescribed  also  in  sweet  wine  for  the 
cure  of  calculi  and  of  stranguiy ;  and  root  of  nymph  asa  heraclia,37 
taken  in  wine,  allays  pains  in  the  bladder. 


A  similar  property  belongs  also  to  crethmos,38  a  plant  highly 

25  See  c.  19  of  this  Book,  M  See  B.  xxv.  cc.  88,  89. 

27  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  2S  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90. 

29  See  B.  xxv.  c.  92.  30  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100. 

31  It  is  quite  useless  for  such  a  purpose  ;  and  the  same  is  the  case,  Fee 
says,  with  all  the  asserted  remedies  mentioned  in  this  Chapter.  See  B. 
xxv.  c.  101.  32  See  B.  xxv.  c.  71. 

33  See  B.  xxv.  c.  106.  34  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  24. 

35  See  c.  31  of  this  Book.  36  See  B.  xxv.  c.  36. 

37  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37.  38  See  B.  xxv.  c.  96. 


praised  by  Hippocrates.39  This  is  one  of  the  wild  plants  that 
are  commonly  eaten — at  all  events,  we  find  Callimachus  men- 
tioning it  as  one  of  the  viands  set  on  table  by  the  peasant 
Hecale.40  It  is  a  species  of  garden  batis,41  with  a  stem  a  palm 
in  height,  and  a  hot  seed,  odoriferous  like  that  of  libanotis,42 
and  round.  When  dried,  the  seed  bursts  asunder,  and  discloses 
in  the  interior  a  white  kernel,  known  as  "  cachry"  to  some. 
The  leaf  is  unctuous  and  of  a  whitish  colour,  like  that  of  the 
olive,  only  thicker  and  of  a  saltish  taste.  The  roots  are  three 
or  four  in  number,  and  about  a  finger  in  thickness :  the  plant 
grows  in  rocky  localities,  upon  the  sea-shore.  It  is  eaten  raw 
or  else  boiled  with  cabbage,  and  has  JL  pleasant,  aromatic 
flavour ;  it  is  preserved  also  in  brine.  .^ 

This  plant  is  particularly  useful  for  strangury,  the  leaves, 
stem,  or  root  being  taken  in  wine.  It  improves  the  complexion 
of  the  skin  also,  but  if  taken  in  excess  is  very  apt  to  produce 
flatulency.  Used  in  the  form  of  a  decoction  it  relaxes  the 
bowels,  has  a  diuretic  effect,  and  carries  off  the  humours  from 
the  kidneys.  The  same  is  the  case  also  with  alcea:43  dried  and 
powdered  and  taken  in  wine,  it  removes  strangury,  and,  with 
the  addition  of  daucus,44  is  still  more  efficacious :  it  is  good 
too  for  the  spleen,  and  is  taken  in  drink  as  an  antidote  to  the 
venom  of  serpents.  Mixed  with  their  barley  it  is  remarkably 
beneficial  for  beasts  of  burden,  when  suffering  from  pituitous 
defluxions  or  strangury. 



The  anthyllion45  is  a  plant  very  like  the  lentil.  Taken  in 
wine,  it  is  remedial  for  diseases  of  the  bladder,  and  arrests 
haemorrhage.  Another  variety  of  it  is  the  anthyllis,  a  plant 
resembling  the  chamsepitys,46  with  a  purple  flower,  a  powerful 
smell,  and  a  root  like  that  of  endive. 

The  plant  known  as  "cepsea"47  is  even  more  efficacious.     It 

39  De  Nat.  Mul.  c.  20,  and  De  Morb.  Mul.  I.  10. 

40  See  B.  xxii.  c.  44.  41  See  B.  xxi.  c.  50. 
42  See  B.  xxv.  c.  18.  43  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  6. 
44  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64.  45  See  B.  xxi.  c.  103. 

46  See  B.  xxi.  c.  103. 

47  The  Sedum  cepaea  of  Linnaeus,  the  Sea  purslain.     Holland  calls  it 
*'  Beccahunga,"  or  "  Brooklime." 

Chap.  54.]  CAEOS   OE  HYPEEICON.  185 

resembles  purslain  in  appearance,  but  bas  a  darker  root,  tbat 
is  never  used  :  it  grows  upon  the  sands  of  the  sea-shore,  and 
has  a  bitter  taste.  Taken  in  wine  with  root  of  asparagus,  it 
is  remarkably  useful  for  diseases  of  the  bladder. 



Hypericon,48  otherwise  known  as  the  "  chamaapitys"49  or 
"  corison,"50  is  possessed  of  similar  properties.  It  is  a  plant51 
with  a  stem  like  that52  of  a  garden  vegetable,  thin,  red,  and  a 
cubit  in  length.  The  leaf  is  similar  to  that  of  rue,  and  has 
an  acrid  smell :  the  seed  is  enclosed  in  a  swarthy  pod,  and 
ripens  at  the  same  time  as  barley.  This  seed  is  of  an  astringent 
nature,  arrests  diarrhoea,  and  acts  as  a  diuretic :  it  is  taken 
also  for  diseases  of  the  bladder,  in  wine. 


There  is  another  hypericon  also,  known  as  "  caros"53  by 
some.  The  leaves  of  it  resemble  those  of  the  tamarix,54 
beneath55  which  it  grows,  but  are  more  unctuous56  and  not  so 
red.  It  is  an  odoriferous  plant,  somewhat  more  than  a  palm57 
in  height,  of  a  sweet  flavour,  and  slightly  pungent.  The  seed 
is  of  a  warming  nature,  and  is  consequently  productive  of  eruc- 
tations ;  it  is  not,  however,  injurious  to  the  stomach.  This 
plant  is  particularly  useful  for  strangury,  provided  the  bladder 

48  Perhaps  so  called  from  the  impressions  on  the  leaves,  virkp  and  eucaw, 
or  else  from  its  resemblance  to  heath,  v-Trep  and  ipKiKrj.  See,  however 
Note  55  helow.  49  "  Ground  pine." 

50  Sillig  reads  this  "corissum."     Former  editions  have  "  corion." 

51  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Hypericum  perforatum  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Perforated  St.  John's  wort.  Littre  gives  the  Hypericum  crispum  of  Linnaeus, 

32  "  Oleraceo."  Another  reading  is  "  surculaceo,"  <4  tough  and  ligneous ;" 
and  is,  perhaps,  preferable. 

53  "  Coris  "  is  the  old  and  more  common  reading,  Fee  identifies  it  with 
the  Hypericum  coris  of  Linnaeus,  and  Brotero  with  the  H.  saxatile  of 
Tournelbrt.     Desfontaines  gives  as  its  synonym  the  Coris  Monspelliensis. 

54  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  41. 

55  It  is  not  improbable,  supposing  the  "  tamarix "  to  be  one  of  the 
Erica3,  that  to  this  circumstance  it  may  owe  its  name.     Indeed  Dioscorides 
has  epeiKr],  in  the  corresponding  passage. 

56  «  Pinguioribus." 

87  Dioscorides  gives  the  stem  larger  dimensions. 

186  PLOT'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XXVI. 

be  not  ulcerated ;  taken  in  wine,  it  is  curative   of   pleurisy 


Callithrix,58  beaten  up  with  cummin  seed,  and  administered 
in  white  wine,  is  useful  also  for  diseases  of  the  bladder. 
Leaves  of  vervain,  boiled  down  to  one  third,  or  root  of  vervain, 
in  warm  honied  wine,  expel  calculi  of  the  bladder. 

Perpressa,59  a  plant  which  grows  in  the  vicinity  of  Arretium 
and  in  Illyricum,  is  boiled  down  to  one  third  in  three  heminse 
of  water,  and  the  decoction  taken  in  drink  :  the  same  too  with 
trefoil,60  which  is  administered  in  wine  ;  and  the  same  with 
the  chrysanthemum.61  The  anthemis62  also  is  an  expellent  of 
calculi.  It  is  a  plant  with  five  small  leaves  running  from  the 
root,  two  long  stems,  and  a  flower  like  a  rose.  The  roots  of 
it  are  pounded  and  administered  alone,  in  the  same  way  as 
raw  laver.63 

CHAP.  56. — SILAUS  :    ONE   REMEDY. 

Silaus64  is  a  plant  which  grows  in  running  streams  with 
a  gravelly  bed.  It  bears  some  resemblance  to  parsley,  and  is 
a  cubit  in  height.  It  is  cooked  in  the  same  manner  as  the 
acid  vegetables,85  and  is  of  great  utility  for  affections  of  the 
bladder.  In  cases  where  that  organ  is  affected  with  eruptions,66 
it  is  used  in  combination  with  root  of  panaces,67  a  plant 
which  is  otherwise  bad  for  the  bladder. 

*8  See  B.  xxii.  c.  30,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  86. 

59  This  plant  has  not  been  identified.  Anguillara  says  that  it  is  the  same 
as  the  "  repressa,"  a  plant  given  to  horses  by  the  people  at  Rome,  when 
suffering  from  dysuria.     What  this  plant  is,  no  one  seems  to  know. 

60  See  B.  xxi.  c.  30. 

ftl  The  same  as  the  Helichrysos  of  B.  xx.  cc.  38  and  96.  It  is  identified 
with  the  Chrysanthemum  segetum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Corn  marygold. 

62  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Eranthemis  of  B.  xxii.  c.  26,  which  he  con- 
siders to  be  the  Anthemis  rosea  of  Linnaeus,  the  Hose  camomile. 

63  See  c.  32  of  this  Book. 

64  Hardouin  thinks  that  it  is  the  Apium  graveolens  of  Linnaeus,  Smallage ; 
but  at  the  present  day  it  is  generally  identified  with  the  Peucedanum  silaus 
of  Linnaeus,  the  Meadow  sulphur- wort,  or  saxifrage. 

65  Sorrel,  for  instance.  66  "  Scabiem." 
67  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11. 


Chap.  58.]         REMEDIES  FOR  DISEASES  OF  THE  TESTES.  187 

The  erratic  apple,68  too,  is  an  expellentof  calculi.  For  this 
purpose,  a  pound  of  the  root  is  boiled  down  to  one  half  in  a 
congius  of  wine,  and  one  hemina  of  the  decoction  is  taken  for 
three  consecutive  days,  the  remainder  being  taken  in  wine 
with  sium.69  Sea-nettle70  is  employed  too  for  the  same  pur- 
pose, daucus,71  and  seed  of  plantago  in  wine. 

CHAP.   57. THE    PLANT    OF   FULVIUS. 

The  plant  of  Fulvius72  too — so  called  from  the  first  discoverer 
of  it,  and  well  known 73  to  herbalists — bruised  in  wine,  acts  as 
a  diuretic. 

CHAP.    58. REMEDIES     FOB.     DISEASES    OF     THE     TESTES    AND     OF 


Scordion74  reduces  swellings  of  the  testes.  Henbane  is 
curative  of  diseases  of  the  generative  organs.  Strangury  is  cured 
by  juice  of  peucedanum,75  taken  witli  honey ;  as  also  by  the 
seed  of  that  plant.  Agaric  is  also  used  for  the  same  purpose, 
taken  in  doses  of  three  oboli  in  one  cyathus  of  old  wine  ;  root 
of  trefoil,  in  doses  of  two  drachmae  in  wine ;  and  root  or  seed 
of  daucus,76  in  doses  of  one  drachma.  For  the  cure  of  sciatica, 
the  seed  and  leaves  of  erythrodanum77  are  used,  pounded  ; 
panaces,78  taken  in  drink ;  polemonia,79  employed  as  a  friction  ; 
and  leaves  of  aristolochia,80  in  the  form  of  a  decoction.  Agaric, 
taken  in  doses  of  three  oboli  in  one  cyathus  of  old  wine,  is 
curative  of  affections  of  the  tendon  known  as  "  platys"81  and 
of  pains  in  the  shoulders.  Cinquefoil  is  either  taken  in  drink 
or  applied  topically  for  the  cure  of  sciatica ;  a  decoction  of 
scammony  is  used  also,  with  barley  meal ;  and  the  seed  of 
either  kind  of  hypericon82  is  taken  in  wine. 

68  Generally  supposed  to  be  the  same  as  the  "  Apple  of  the  earth," 
mentioned  in  B.  xxv.  c.  54.  69  See  B.  xx.  c.  41. 

70  It  is  doubtful  whether  he  means  an  animal  or  plant ;  most  probably 
the  latter,  but  if  so,  it  is  quite  unknown.  1l  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

'*  "  Herba  Fulviana."  73  A  plant  now  unknown. 

74  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27.     In  reality  it  is  of  an  irritating  nature. 

75  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  76  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

77  Or  madder ;  see  B.  xix.  c.  17.  The  seed  and  leaves  are  no  longer 
employed  in  medicine  ;  the  root  has  been  employed  in  modern  times,  Fee 
says,  but  with  no  success.  78  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq. 

79  See  B.  xxv.  c.  28.  80  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 

81  Or  "broad"  tendon.    The  Tendon  A  chillis. 

83  See  ec.  53  and  54  of  this  Book. 

188  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOKT.         [BookXXYI. 

Eor  diseases  of  the  fundament  and  for  excoriations  plantago 
is  remarkably  efficacious  ;  for  condylomata,  cinquefoil ;  and  for 
procidence  of  the  rectum,  root  of  cyclaminos,83  applied  in 
vinegar.  The  blue  anagallis81  reduces  procidence  of  the 
rectum,  while,  on  the  contrary,  that  with  a  red  flower  has  a 
tendency  to  bear  it  down.  Cotyledon85  is  a  marvellous  cure 
for  condylomatous  affections  and  piles ;  and  root  of  acoron,86 
boiled  in  wine  and  beaten  up,  is  a  good  application  for  swel- 
ling of  the  testes.  According  to  what  Cato87  says,  those  who 
carry  about  them  Pontic88  wormwood,  will  never  experience 
chafing  between  the  thighs. 

(9.)  Some  persons  add  pennyroyal  to  the  number  of  these 
plants :  gathered  fasting,  they  say,  and  attached  to  the  hinder 
part  of  the  body,  it  will  be  an  effectual  preservative  against 
all  pains  in  the  groin,  and  will  allay  them  in  cases  where  they 
already  exist. 


Inguinalis89  again,  or,  as  some  persons  call  it,  "argemo,"  a 
plant  commonly  found  growing  in  bushes  and  thickets,  needs 
only  to  be  held  in  the  hand  to  be  productive  of  beneficial  effects 
upon  the  groin. 



Panaces,90  applied  with  honey,  heals  inflammatory  tumours ; 
an  effect  which  is  equally  produced  by  plantago  applied  with 
salt,  cinquefoil,  root  of  persolata91  used  in  the  same  way  as 
for  scrofula ;  damasonium92  also,  and  verbascum93  pounded  with 
the  root,  and  then  sprinkled  with  wine,  and  wrapped  in  a  leaf 
warmed  upon  ashes,  and  applied  hot.  Persons  of  experience 
in  these  matters  have  asserted  that  it'  is  of  primary  importance 
that  the  application  should  be  made  by  a  maiden,  as  also  that 
she  must  be  naked  at  the  time,  and  fasting.  The  patient  must 

83  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.  84  See  B.  xxv.  c.  92. 

85  See  B.  xxv.  c.  101.  86  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100. 

87  De  Re  Rust.  c.  159.  He  says  that  it  must  be  carried  under  the  ring. 

88  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  28. 

89  The  "  Groin  plant."  Probably  the  same  as  the  Bubonion  of  B.  xxvii. 
c.  19. 

30  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq.  9l  See  c.  12  of  this  Book. 

M  See  B.  xxv.  c.  77.  23  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73, 

Chap.  62.]  THE   ORCHIS.  189 

be  fasting  too,  and  the  damsel  must  say,  touching  him  with 
the  back  of  her  hand,94  "  Apollo  forbids  that  a  disease  shall 
increase  which  a  naked  virgin  restrains."  So  saying,  she 
must  withdraw  her  hand,  and  repeat  to  the  above  effect  three 
times,  both  of  them  spitting  upon  the  ground  each  time. 

Root,  too,  of  mandragora95  is  used  for  this  purpose,  with 
water ;  a  decoction  of  root  of  scammony  with  honey ;  sideritisy6 
beaten  up  with  stale  grease ;  horehound  with  stale  axle- 
grease  ;  or  chrysippios,97  a  plant  which  owes  its  name  to  its 
discoverer — with  pulpy  figs. 


Nymph a3a  heraclia,  used  as  already  stated,98  acts  most 
powerfully  as  an  antaphrodisiac ;  the  same  too  if  taken  once 
overy  forty  days  in  drink.  Taken  in  drink  fasting,  or  eaten 
with  the  food,  it  effectually  prevents  the  recurrence  of  libidi- 
nous dreams.  The  root  too,  used  in  the  form  of  a  liniment  and 
applied  to  the  generative  organs,  not  only  represses  all  prurient 
desires,  but  arrests  the  seminal  secretions  as  well ;  for  which 
reason,  it  is  said  to  have  a  tendency  to  make  flesh  and  to 
improve  the  voice.99 

The  upper  part  of  the  root  of  xiphion,1  taken  in  wine,  acts 
as  an  aphrodisiac.  The  same  is  the  case  too  with  .the  wild 
crethmos,2  or  agrios  as  it  is  called,  and  with  horminum,3  beaten 
up  with  polenta.4 



Eut  there  are  few  plants  of  so  marvellous  a  nature  as  the 
orchis5  or  serapias,  a  vegetable  production  with  leaves  like 

94  The  following  is  the  formula  of  this  monstrous  piece  of  absurdity : 
"  Negat  Apollo  pestem  posse  crescere  cui  nuda  virgo  restinguat.'1 

95  See  B.  xxv.  c.  94.  *  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19. 

97  An  unknown  plant. 

98  In  B.  xxv.  c.  37.    This  alleged  property  of  the  Nymphsea  is  entirely 
fabulous.  "  See  B.  xx.  c.  13. 

1  See  B.  xxv.  cc.  88  and  89.  2  See  B.  xxv.  e.  96. 

3  See  B.  xviii.  cc.  10  and  22.  ^  4  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

5  Identified  by  Littre  with  the  Orchis  undulatifolia,  and  by  Fee  with 
the  Orchis  morio  of  Linnaeifs,  the  Female  orchis,  or  Female  fool-stones. 
Its  aphrodisiac  properties  seem  not  to  have  been  proved  by  modern  ex- 
perience, hut  it  is  nourishing  in  the  highest  degree.  LinnaBus,  however, 
seems  to  be  of  opinion  that  it  may  have  the  effect  of  an  aphrodisiac  upou 

190  PLINY' 8   NATUBAL   HISTORY.  [Book  XXVI. 

those  of  the  leek,  a  stem  a  palm  in  height,  a  purple  flower, 
and  a  twofold  root,  formed  of  tuberosities  which  resemble  the 
testes  in  appearance.  The  larger  of  these  tuberosities,  or,  as 
some  say,  the  harder  of  the  two,  taken  in  water,  is  provocative 
of  lust ;  while  the  smaller,  or,  in  other  words,  the  softer  one, 
taken  in  goat's  milk,  acts  as  an  antaphrodisiac.  Some  persons 
describe  this  plant  as  having  a  leaf  like  that  of  the  squill, 
only  smoother  and  softer,  and  a  prickly  stem.  The  roots  heal 
ulcerations  of  the  mouth,  and  are  curative  of  pituitous  dis- 
charges from  the  chest ;  taken  in  wine  they  act  astringently 
upon  the  bowels. 

Satyrion  is  also  a  powerful  stimulant.  There  are  two  kinds 
of  it :  the  first6  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  olive,  but  longer, 
a  stem  four  fingers  in  length,  a  purple  flower,  and  a  double 
root,  resembling  the  human  testes  in  shape.  This  root  swells 
and  increases  in  volume  one  year,  and  resumes  its  original 
size  the  next.  The  other  kind  is  known  as  the  "  satyrios  or- 
chis/'7 and  is  supposed  to  be  the  female  plant.  It  is  dis- 
tinguished from  the  former  one  by  the  distance  between  its 
joints,  and  its  more  branchy  and  shrublike  form.  The  root  is 
employed  in  philtres  :  it  is  mostly  found  growing  near  the 
sea.  Beaten  up  and  applied  with  polenta,8  or  by  itself,  it 
heals  tumours  and  various  other  affections  of  the  generative 
organs.  The  root  of  the  first  kind,  administered  in  the  milk 
of  a  colonic9  sheep,  causes  tentigo ;  taken  in  water  it  produces 
a  contrary  effect. 



The  Greeks  give  the  name  of  "satyrion"10  to  a  plant  with 

cattle.  It  is  the  name,  no  doubt,  signifying  "  testicle,"  which  originally 
procured  for  it  the  repute  of  being  an  aphrodisiac. 

6  Identified  by  Desfontaines  with  the  Orchis  pyramidalis,  and  by   Fee 
with  the  0.  papilionacea  of  Linnaeus.      Littre  gives  the  Limodorum  abor- 

7  He  is  probably  speaking  of  the  Cratsegonon  of  B.  xxvii.  c.  40,  which 
Fee  identifies  with  the  Thelygonon  of  c.  91  of  this  Book.      He  remarks 
that  from  the  description,  the  Satyrios  orchis  cannot  have  been  a  Mono- 

8  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14.  9  See  B.  viii.  c.  72. 

10  Littre  identifies  it  with  the  Aceras  anthropophora  of  Linnaeus  ;  Des- 
fontaines with  the  Orchis  bifolia,  the  Butterfly  orchis.  The  Iris  ftorentina 

Chap.  63.]  SATTEION.  191 

red  leaves  like  those  of  the  lily,  but  smaller,  not  more  than 
three  of  them  making  their  appearance  above  ground.  The 
stem,  they  say,  is  smooth  and  bare  and  a  cubit  in  length,  and 
the  root  double  ;  the  lower  part,  which  is  also  the  larger,  pro- 
moting the  conception  of  male  issue,  the  upper  or  smaller  part, 
that  of  female. 

They  distinguish  also  another  kind  of  satyrion,  by  the 
name  of  "  erythraicon  :""  it  has  seed  like  that  of  the  vitex,12 
only  larger,  smooth,  and  hard ;  the  root,  they  say,  is  covered 
with  a  red  rind,  and  is  white  within  and  of  a  sweetish  taste  : 
it  is  mostly  found  in  mountainous  districts.  The  root,  we  are 
told,  if  only  held  in  the  hand,  acts  as  a  powerful  aphrodisiac, 
and  even  more  so,  if  it  is  taken  in  rough,  astringent  wine.  It 
is  administered  in  drink,  they  say,  to  rams  and  he-goats  when 
inactive  and  sluggish  ;  and  the  people  of  Sarmatia  are  in  the 
habit  of  giving  it  to  their  stallions  when  fatigued  with  cover- 
ing, a  defect  to  which  they  give  the  name  of  "  prosedamum." 
The  effects  of  this  plant  are  neutralized  by  the  use  of  hydro- 
mel  or  lettuces.13 

The  Greeks,  however,  give  the  general  name  of  " satyrion" 
to  all  substances  of  a  stimulating  tendency,  to  the  cratsegis1* 
for  example,  the  thelygonon,15  and  the  arrenogonon,  plants, 
the  seed  of  which  bears  a  resemblance  to  the  testes.16  Persons 
who  carry  the  pith  of  branches  of  tithynialos17  about  them, 
are  rendered  more  amorous  thereby,  it  is  said.  The  statements 
are  really  incredible,  which  Theophrastus,18  in  most  cases  an 
author  of  high  authority,  makes  in  relation  to  this  subject ; 
thus,  for  instance,  he  says  that  by  the  contact  only  of  a  cer- 

of  Linnaeus  has  also  been  named ;  but,  though  with  some  doubt,  Fee  is 
inclined  to  prefer  the  Tulipa  Clusiana,  or  some  other  kind  of  tulip. 

11  Mostly  identified  with  the  Erythronium  dens  canis  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Dog's  tooth  violet.     M.  Fraas,  however,  in  his  Synopsis,  p.  279,  remarks 
that  the  E.  dens  canis  is  not  to  be  found  in  Greece,  and  is  of  opinion  that 
the  Fritillaria  Pyrenaica,  the  Pyrenean  lily,  or  Fritillary,  is  meant.     The 
Serapias  cordigera  of  Linnaeus  has  been  suggested,  and  Fee  "thinks  that 
it  is  as  likely  to  be  the  plant  meant  by  Pliny  as  any  other  that  has  been 

12  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  38.  13  See  B.  xix.  c.  38. 

14  "  Crataegonon  "  is  most  probably  the  correct  reading.  See  B.  xvi. 
c.  52,  and  B.  xxvii.  c.  40.  13  See  c.  91  of  this  Book. 

16  Of  the  three  plants  named,  the  Thelygonon  is  the  only  one  to  which 
this  assertion  will  apply.     See  c.  91  of  this  Book,  and  B.  xxvii.  c.  40, 

17  See  B.  zxvi.  c.  39.  «  Hist.  Plant.  B.  ix.  c.  20. 

192  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVI. 

tain  plant,  a  man  has  been  enabled,  in  the  sexual  congress,  to 
repeat  his  embraces  as  many  as  seventy  times  even !  The 
name  and  genus,  however,  of  this  plant,  he  has  omitted  to 


Sideritis,19  attached  to  the  body  as  an  amulet,  reduces  vari- 
cose veins,  and  effects  a  painless  cure.  Gout  used  to  be  an 
extremely  rare  disease,  not  in  the  times  of  our  fathers  and 
grandfathers  only,  but  within  my  own  memory  even.  Indeed, 
it  may  justly  be  considered  a  foreign  complaint ;  for  if  it  had 
been  formerly  known  in  Italy,  it  would  surely  have  found  a 
Latin  name.  It  should,  however,  by  no  means  be  looked 
upon  as  an  incurable  malady ;  for  before  now,  in  many  in- 
stances, it  has  quitted  the  patient  all  at  once,  and  still  more 
frequently,  a  cure  has  been  effected  by  proper  treatment. 

For  the  cure  of  gout,  roots  of  panaces20  are  used,  mixed  with 
raisins ;  juice  of  henbane,  or  the  seed,  combined  with  meal ; 
scordion,21  taken  in  vinegar ;  iberis,  as  already  mentioned  ;22 
vervain,  beaten  up  with  axle-grease  ;  or  root  of  cyclaminos,23 
a  decoction  of  which  is  good  also  for  chilblains. 

As  cooling  applications  for  gout,  root  of  xiphion24  is  used ; 
seed  of  psyllion  ;25  hemlock,  with  litharge  or  axle-grease  ; 
and,  at  the  first  symptoms  of  red  gout,  or,  in  other  words,  hot 
gout,  the  plant  aizoiirn.26  For  either  kind  of  gout,  erigeron,27 
with  axle-grease,  is  very  useful ;  leaves  of  plantago,  beaten  up 
with  a  little  salt ;  or  argemonia,28  pounded  with  honey.  An 
application  of  vervain  is  also  remedial,  and  it  is  a  good  plan 
to  soak  the  feet  in  a  decoction  of  that  plant  in  water. 



Lappago29  is  employed  also  for  this  disease ;  a  plant 
similar  to  the  anagallis,30  were  it  not  that  it  is  more  branchy, 

19  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19.  20  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq. 

21  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27. 

22  In  B.  xxv.  c.  49.  None  of  these  so-called  remedies  are  now  employed. 

23  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.  24  See  B.  xxv.  cc.  88,  89. 
25  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90.  26  See  B.  xxv  c.  102. 

27  See  B.  xxv.  c.  106.  M  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66. 

20  See  B.  zsiv.  c.  116.  30  See  B.  xxv.  c.  92. 

Chap.  66.]  P1ITCOS   THALASSEON.  193 

bristling  with  a  greater  number  of  leaves,  covered  with  rugo- 
sities, full  of  a  more  acrid  juice,  and  possessed  of  a  powerful 
smell.  The  kind  that  resembles  anagallis  most  closely,  is 
known  as  mollugo.31  Asperugo32  is  a  similar  plant,  only  with 
a  more  prickly  leaf.  The  juice  of  the  first  is  taken  daily,  in 
doses  of  one  denarius,  in  two  cyathi  of  wine. 



But  it  is  the  phycos  thalassion,  or  sea-weed,33  more  particu- 
larly, that  is  so  excellent  a  remedy  for  the  gout.  It  resembles 
the  lettuce  in  appearance,  and  is  used  as  the  basis  in  dyeing 
tissues  with  the  purple  of  the  murex.34  Used  before  it  be- 
comes dry,  it  is  efficacious  as  a  topical  application  not  only 
for  gout,  but  for  all  diseases  of  the  joints.  There  are  three 
kinds  of  it ;  one  with  a  broad  leaf,  another  with  a  longer  leaf 
of  a  reddish  hue,  and  a  third  with  a  crisped  leaf,  and  used  in 
Crete  for  dyeing  cloths.35  All  these  kinds  have  similar  pro- 
perties ;  and  we  find  Nicander  prescribing  them  in  wine  as  an 
antidote  to  the  venom  of  serpents  even.  The  seed  also  of  the 
plant  which  we  have  spoken  of  as  "  psyllion,"36  is  useful  for 
the  cure  of  gout :  it  is  first  steeped  in  water,  and  one  hemina  of 
the  seed  is  then  mixed  with  two  spoonfuls  of  resin  of  Colophon, 
and  one  spoonful  of  frankincense.  Leaves  of  mandragora,37 
too,  are  highly  esteemed  for  this  purpose,  beaten  up  with 

(11.)  For  swellings  of  the  ankles,  slime,38  kneaded  up  with 
oil,  is  wonderfully  useful,  and  for  swellings  of  the  joints  the 
juice  of  the  smaller  centaury ;  this  last  being  remarkably  good 
also  for  diseases  of  the  sinews.  Centauris,39  too,  is  very  useful ; 
and  for  pains  in  the  sinews  of  the  shoulder-blades,  shoulders, 

31  Identified  with  the  Galium  mollugo  of  Linnaeus,  Great  ladies'  bed- 
straw,  or  Wild  bastard  madder. 

32  The  Asperugo  procumbens  of  Linnaeus  has  been  named,  but  Fee  re- 
marks that  from  its  resemblance  to  Mollugo,  the  plant  must  be  sought 
among  the  Rubiaceae,  and  not  among  the  Borragineae. 

33  <*  Fucus  marinus."     See  B.  xiii.  c.  48. 

34  "  Qui  conchyliis  substernitur."     See  Beckmann's  Hist.  Inv.  Vol.  I. 
p.  36,  Bohn's  Ed. 

35  What  Fucus  or  Laminaria  this  may  have  been  is  now  unknown. 
86  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90.  37  See  B.  xxv.  c.  94. 

38  "  Limus  aquaticus."  39  See  B.  xxv.  c.  32, 

VOL.  V.  O 

194  PLINY'S  NATUHAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVI. 

vertebrae,  and  loins,  an  infusion  of  betony  is  taken  in  drink  in 
the  same  way  as  for  diseases  of  the  liver.40  Cinquefoil  is  ap- 
plied topically  to  the  joints,  and  a  similar  use  is  made  of  the 
leaves  of  mandragora,  mixed  with  polenta,41  or  else  the  root, 
beaten  up  fresh  with  wild  cucumber  42  or  boiled  in  water.  For 
chaps  upon  the  toes,  root  of  polypodion43  is  used  ;  and  for  dis- 
eases of  the  joints,  juice  of  henbane  with  axle- grease ;  amo- 
mum,44  with  a  decoction  of  the  plant ;  centunculus,45  boiled ;  or 
fresh  moss  steeped  in  water,  and  attached  to  the  part  till  it  is 
quite  dry. 

The  root,  too,  of  lappa  boaria,46  taken  in  wine,  is  productive 
of  similar  effects.  A  decoction  of  cyclaminos47  in  water,  is  cura- 
tive of  chilblains,  and  all  other  affections  resulting  from  cold. 
For  chilblains,  cotyledon48  is  also  employed  with  axle-grease, 
leaves  of  batrachion,49  and  juice  of  epithymum.50  Ladanum,51 
mixed  with  castoreum,51  and  vervain  applied  with  wine,  ex- 
tract corns  from  the  feet. 


Having  now  finished  the  detail  of  the  diseases  which  are 
perceptible  in  individual  parts  of  the  body,  we  shall  proceed 
to  speak  of  those  which  attack  the  whole  of  the  body.  The 
following  I  find  mentioned  as  general  remedies  :  in  preference 
to  anything  else,  an  infusion  of  dodecatheos,52  a  plant  already 
described,  should  be  taken  in  drink,  and  then  the  roots  of  the 
several  kinds53  of  panaces,  in  maladies  of  long  standing  more 
particularly :  seed,  too,  of  panaces  should  be  used  for  intestinal 
complaints.  For  all  painful  affections  of  the  body  we  find 
juice  of  scordium54  recommended,  as  also  that  of  betony  :  this 
last,  taken  in  a  potion,  is  particularly  excellent  for  removing 
a  wan  and  leaden  hue  of  the  skin,  and  for  improving  its  gene- 
ral appearance. 

40  See  c.  19  of  this  Book.  41  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

42  See  B.  xx.  c.  2.  43  See  c.  37  of  this  Book. 

44  See  B.  xii.  c.  28.  45  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  88. 

46  (4  QX  iappa/'     Possibly  the  same  as  the  Philanthropes,  or  else  the 
Lappa  canina,  both,  mentioned  in  B.  xxiv.  c.  116. 

47  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.  48  See  B.  xxv.  c.  101. 

49  3ee  B.  xxv.  c.  109. 

50  See  B.  xii.  c.  37,  and  c.  35  of  this  Book. 

51  See  B.  viii.  c.  47.  52  See  B.  xxv.  c.  9. 
58  See  B.  txv.  c.  li,  et  scq.                  51  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27. 

Chap.  68.]  THE    GEEANIOtf.  195 


The  plant  geranion  has  the  additional  names  of  "  myrrhis"54* 
and  "  myrtis."  It  is  similar  to  hemlock  in  appearance,  but 
has  a  smaller  leaf  and  a  shorter  stem,  rounded,  and  of  a  plea- 
sant taste  and  odour.  Such,  at  all  events,  is  the  description 
given  of  it  by  our  herbalists ;  but  the  Greeks  speak  of  it  as 
bearing  leaves  a  little  whiter  than  those  of  the  mallow,  thin 
downy  stems,  and  branches  at  intervals  some  two  palms  in 
length,  with  small  heads  at  their  extremities,  in  the  midst 
of  the  leaves,  resembling  the  bill 55  of  a  crane.66  There  is  also 
another 57  variety  of  this  plant,  with  leaves  like  those  of  the 
anemone,  but  with  deeper  incisions,  and  a  root  rounded  like 
an  apple,  sweet,  and  extremely  useful  and  refreshing 5S  for 
invalids  when  recovering  their  strength :  this  last  would  al- 
most seem  to  be  the  true  geranion. 

For  phthisis  this  plant  is  taken,  in  the  proportion  of  one 
drachma  to  three  cyathi  of  wine,  twice  a  day ;  as  also  for 
flatulency.  Eaten  raw,  it  is  productive  of  similar  effects.  The 
juice  of  the  root  is  remedial  for  diseases  of  the  ear ;  and  for 
opisthotony  the  seed  is  taken  in  drink,  in  doses  of  four  drachmae, 
with  pepper  and  myrrh.  Juice  of  plantago,59  taken  in  drink, 
is  curative  of  phthisis,  and  a  decoction  of  it  is  equally  good  for 
the  purpose.  Plantago  taken  as  a  food  with  oil  and  salt, 
immediately  after  rising  in  the  morning,  is  extremely  refreshing; 
it  is  prescribed,  too,  in  cases  of  atrophy,  on  alternate  days. 
Betony  is  given  with  honey,  in  the  form  of  an  electuary,  for 
phthisis,  in  pieces  the  size  of  a  bean ;  agaric,  too,  is  taken  in 
doses  of  two  oboli  in  raisin  wine,  or  else  daucus60  with  the 
greater  centaury  in  wine.  For  the  cure  of  phagedsena,  a 

54*  Not  in  reality  the  same  plant  as  the  Geranion ;  see  B.  xxiv.  c.  97. 
Littre,  however,  gives  the  Erodium  moschatum  of  Linnaeus  as  the  synonym 
of  this  Geranion  myrrhis. 

55  Hence  its  name,  from  the  Greek  yspavos,  a  "  crane." 

56  This  kind  of  Geranion  has  been  identified  with  the  Geranium  molle, 
or  Erodium  malacoides  of  Linnaeus,  the  Common  dore's-foot  crane's  bill. 

57  Identified  with  the  Geranium  tuberosum  of  Linnaeus. 

58  Fee  remarks  that  all  his  assertions  as  to  the  medicinal  properties  of 
the  Geranion  are  erroneous. 

59  See  B.  XXY.  c.  39.  eo  gee  g,  XX7  c.  64> 

196  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVL 

name  given  in  common  to  bulimia61  and  to  a  corrosive  kind 
of  ulcer,  tithymalos63  is  taken  in  combination  with  sesame. 


Among  the  various  evils  by  which  .the  whole  of  the  body  in 
common  is  afflicted,  that  of  wakefulness  is  the  most  common. 
Among  the  remedies  for  it  we  find  panaces63  mentioned, 
clymenus,64  and  aristolochia,65  the  odour  of  the  plant  being 
inhaled  and  the  head  rubbed  with  it.  Aizoiim,  or  houseleek, 
is  beneficial,  wrapped  in  black  cloth  and  placed  beneath  the 
pillow,  without  the  patient  being  aware  of  it.  The  onotheras66 
too,  or  onear,  taken  in  wine,  has  certain  exhilarating  pro- 
perties ;  it  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  almond  tree,  a  rose- 
coloured  flower,  numerous  branches,  and  a  long  root,  with  a 
vinous  smell  when  dried :  an  infusion  of  this  root  has  a 
soothing  effect  upon  wild  beasts  even. 

For  fits  of  indigestion67  attended  with  nausea,  betony  is 
taken  in  drink :  used  similarly  after  the  evening  meal,  it  faci- 
litates the  digestion.  Taken  in  the  proportion  of  one  drachma 
to  three  cyathi  of  oxymel,  it  dispels  crapulence.  The  same  is 
the  case,  too,  with  agaric,  taken  in  warm  water  after  eating. 
Betony  is  curative  of  paralysis,  it  is  said;  the  same,  too,  with 
iberis,  as  already  stated.68  This  last  is  good,  too,  for  numbness 
of  the  limbs  ;  the  same  being  the  case  with  argemonia,69  a 
plant  which  disperses  those  affections  which  might  otherwise 
necessitate  the  application  of  the  knife. 


Epilepsy  is  cured  by  the  root  of  the  panaces  which  we  have 
spoken70  of  as  the  "  heraclion,"  taken  in  drink  with  sea-calf's 
rennet,  the  proportions  being  three  parts  of  panaces  and  one  of 
rennet.  For  the  same  purpose  an  infusion  of  plantago71  is 
taken,  or  else  betony  or  agaric,  with  oxymel,  the  former  in 
doses  of  one  drachma,  the  latter  in  doses  of  three  oboli ;  leaves 

01  Voracious  appetite — "sine  modo  esurientium." 
6-  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  39.  63  See  B.  xxv.  cc.  11  and  12. 

i;4  See  B.  xxv.  c.  33.  65  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 

6>i  Identified  with  the  Epilobiurn  roseum  of  Linnceus,  Rose-coloured 
willow-herb.  67  See  c.  25  of  this  Book. 

**  In  B.  xxv.  c.  49.  69  See  B.  xxv.  c.  56. 

"°  In  B.  xxv.  c.  12.  71  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39. 

Chap.  71.]  REMEDIES   FOB   FEVERS.  197 

of  cinquefoil  are  taken,  also,  in  water.  Archezostis72  is  also 
curative  of  epilepsy,  but  it  must  be  taken  constantly  for  a 
year  ;  root  of  bacchar,73  too,  dried  and  powdered,  and  taken  in 
warm  water,  in  the  proportion  of  three  cyathi  to  one  cyathus 
of  coriander;  centunculus74  also,  bruised  in  vinegar,  warm 
water,  or  honey ;  vervain,  taken  in  wine ;  hyssop75  berries, 
three  in  number,  pounded  and  taken  in  water,  for  sixteen  days 
consecutively ;  peucedanum,76  taken  in  drink  with  sea-calf's 
rennet,  in  equal  proportions ;  leaves  of  cinquefoil,  bruised  in 
wine  and  taken  for  thirty  days  ;  powdered  betony,  in  doses  of 
three  denarii,  with  one  cyathus  of  squill  vinegar  and  an  ounce 
of  Attic  honey  ;  as  also  scammony,  in  the  proportion  of  two 
oboli  to  four  drachmae  of  castoreum. 


Agaric,  taken  in  warm  water,  alleviates  cold  fevers  :  sideritie, 
in  combination  with  oil,  is  good  for  tertian  fevers ;  bruised 
ladanum 77  also,  which  is  found  in  corn  fields ;  plantago,78  taken 
in  doses  of  two  drachmae,  in  hydromel,  a  couple  of  hours  before 
the  paroxysms  come  on ;  juice  of  the  root  of  plantago  made 
warm  or  subjected  to  pressure ;  or  else  the  root  itself  beaten  up 
in  water  made  warm  with  a  hot  iron.  Some  medical  men  pre- 
scribe three  roots  of  plantago,  in  three  cyathi  of  water  ;  and 
in  a  similar  manner,  four  roots  for  quartan  fevers.  When 
buglossos79  is  beginning  to  wither,  if  a  person  takes  the  pith  out 
of  the  stem,  and  says  while  so  doing,  that  it  is  for  the  cure 
of  such  and  such  a  person  suffering  from  fever,  and  then 
attaches  seven  leaves  to  the  patient,  just  before  the  paroxysms 
come  on,  he  will  experience  a  cure,  they  say. 

Fevers  too,  those  which  are  attended  with  recurrent  cold 
shiverings  more  particularly,  are  cured  by  administering  one 
drachma  of  betony,  or  else  agaric,  in  three  cyathi  of  hydromel. 
Some  medical  men  recommend  three  leaves  of  cinquefoil  for 
tertian,  four  for  quartan,  and  an  increased  number  for  other 
fevers ;  while  others  again  prescribe  in  all  cases  three  oboli  of 
cinquefoil,  with  pepper,  in  hydromel. 

Vervain,  administered  in  water,  is  curative  of  fever,  in  beasts 

73  See  B.  xxiii.  c.  16.  73  See  B.  xxi.  c.  16. 

74  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  88.  75  See  B.  xxv,  c.  87. 

76  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  77  See  c.  30  of  this  Book. 

18  See  B,  xxv.  c.  39.  79  See  B.  xxv.  c.  40. 

198  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVI. 

of  burden  even ;  but  care  must  be  taken,  in  cases  of  tertian 
fever,  to  cut  the  plant  at  the  third  joint,  and  of  quartan  fever 
at  the  fourth.  The  seed  of  either  kind  of  hypericon80  is  taken 
also  for  quartan  fevers  and  cold  shiverings.  Powdered  betony 
modifies  these  fits,  and  panaces81  is  of  so  warming  a  nature 
that  persons  when  about  to  travel  amid  the  snow  are  recom- 
mended to  drink  an  infusion  of  it,  and  to  rub  the  body  all  over 
with  the  plant.  Aristolochia81*  also  arrests  shivering  produced 
by  cold. 



Phrenitis  is  cured  by  sleep  induced  by  the  agency  of  an 
infusion  of  peucedanum82  in  vinegar,  poured  upon  the  head,  or 
else  by  the  juice  of  either  kind  of  anagallis.82*  On  the  other 
hand,  when  patients  are  suffering  from  lethargy,  it  is  with  the 
greatest  difficulty  that  they  are  aroused  ;  a  result  which  may 
be  effected,  they  say,  by  touching  the  nostrils  with  juice  of 
peucedanum  in  vinegar.  For  the  cure  of  insanity,  betony  is 
administered  in  drink.  Panaces83  brings  carbuncles  to  a  head, 
and  makes  them  break;  and  they  are  equally  cured  by 
powdered  betony  applied  in  water,  or  else  cabbage  leaves 
mixed  with  frankincense  in  warm  water,  and  taken  in  con- 
siderable quantities.  For  a  similar  purpose,  a  red-hot  coal  is 
extinguished  in  the  patient's  presence,  and  the  ashes  are  taken 
up  with  the  finger  and  applied  to  the  sore.  Bruised  plantago83* 
is  also  used  for  the  cure  of  carbuncles. 



For  the  cure  of  dropsy,  tithymalos  characias84  is  employed ; 
panaces85  also ;  plantago,86  used  as  a  diet,  dry  bread  being 
eaten  first,  without  any  drink ;  betony,  taken  in  doses  of  two 
drachmas  in  two  cyathi  of  ordinary  wine  or  honied  wine ; 
agaric  or  seed  of  lonchitis,87  in  doses  of  two  spoonfuls,  in 

80  See  Chapters  53  and  54  of  this  Book. 

81  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq.  81*  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 
33  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  82*  See  B.  xxv.  c.  92. 

83  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq.  88'  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39. 

84  See  c.  39  of  this  Book.  85  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  sea. 
86  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  87  gee  B.  xxv.  c.  88. 

Chap.  74.]  REMEDIES   FOR   ERYSIPELAS.  .      199 

water;  psyllion,88  taken  in  wine;  juice  of  either  anagallis;89 
root  of  cotyledon90  in  honied  wine ;  root  of  ebulum,91  fresh 
gathered,  with  the  mould  shaken  off,  but  not  washed  in 
water,  a  pinch  in  two  fingers  being  taken  in  one  hemina  of 
old  wine  mulled;  root  of  trefoil,  taken  in  doses  of  two 
drachmae  in  wine ;  the  tithymalos92  known  as  "  platyphyllos ;" 
seed  of  the  hypericon,93  otherwise  known  as  "caros;"  the 
plant  called  "acte" — the  same  thing  as  ebulum94  according  to 
some — the  root  of  it  being  pounded  in  three  cyathi  of  wine,  if 
there  are  no  symptoms  of  fever,  or  the  seed  of  it  being  ad- 
ministered in  red  wine ;  a  good  handful  of  vervain  also,  boiled 
down  in  water  to  one  half.  But  of  all  the  remedies  for  this 
disease,  juice  of  chamaeacte95  is  looked  upon  as  by  far  the  most 

Morbid  or  pituitous  eruptions  are  cured  by  the  agency  of 
plantago,  or  else  root  of  cyclaminos96  with  honey.  Leaves  of 
ebulum,97  bruised  in  old  wine  and  applied  topically,  are  curative 
of  the  disease  called  "boa,"  which  makes  its  appearance  in 
the  form  of  red  pimples.  Juice  of  strychnos,98  applied  as  a 
liniment,  is  curative  of  prurigo. 


For  the  cure  of  erysipelas,  aizoiim99  is  used,  or  else  pounded 
leaves  of  hemlock,  or  root  of  mandragora  j1  this  last  being  cut 
into  round  slices  like  cucumber  and  suspended  over  must,2  after 
which  it  is  hung  up  in  the  smoke,  and  then  pounded  in  wine 
or  vinegar.  It  is  a  good  plan  too  to  use  fomentations  with 
myrtle  wine  :  two  ounces  of  mint  beaten  up  in  vinegar  with 
one  ounce  of  live  sulphur,  form  a  mixture  sometimes  employed ; 
as  also  soot  mixed  with  vinegar. 

There  are  several  kinds  of  erysipelas,  one  in  particular 
which  attacks  the  middle  of  the  body,  and  is  known  as 
"  zoster  :"3  should  it  entirely  surround  the  body,  its  effects  are 

88  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90.  89  See  B.  xxv.  c.  92. 

90  See  B.  xxv.  c.  101.  91  See  B.  xxv.  c.  71. 

93  See  c.  44  of  this  Book.  93  See  c.  54  of  this  Book, 

u  See  B.  xxv.  c.  71.  95  See  B.  xxv.  c.  71. 

96  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.  9T  See  B.  xxv.  c.  71. 

98  See  B.  xxi.  c.  105.  M  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102. 

1  See  B.  xxv.  c.  94.  2  Or  Grape-juice. 

3  The  "belt " — known  to  us  as  "  shingles." 

200    .  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOEY.         [Book  XXVI. 

fatal.  For  this  disease,  plantago4  is  remedial,  mixed  with 
Cimolian5  chalk ;  vervain,  used  by  itself;  or  root  of  persolata.6 
For  other  kinds  of  erysipelas  of  a  spreading  nature,  root  of 
cotyledon7  is  used,  mixed  with  honied  wine ;  aizoiim  also,8  or 
juice  of  linozostis,9  in  combination  with  vinegar. 

CHAP.  75.    (12.) KEMEDIES  FOE  SPBAINS. 

For  the  cure  of  sprains,  root  of  polypodion10  is  used,  in  the 
form  of  a  liniment :  the  pain  and  swelling  are  modified  also  by 
using  seed  of  psyllion  ;n  leaves  of  plantago12  beaten  up  with 
a  little  salt ;  seed  of  verbascum,13  boiled  in  wine  and  pounded ; 
or  hemlock  with  axle-grease.  Leaves  of  ephemeron14  are  applied 
topically  to  tumours  and  tuberosities,  so  long  as  they  are 
capable  of  being  dispersed. 


It  is  upon  the  eyes  in  particular  that  jaundice  is  productive 
of  so  remarkable  an  effect ;  the  bile  penetrating  between  the 
membranes,  so  extremely  delicate  as  they  are  and  so  closely 
united.  Hippocrates15  tells  us  that  the  appearance  of  jaundice 
on  or  after  the  seventh  day  in  fevers  is  a  fatal  symptom ;  but 
I  am  acquainted  with  some  instances  in  which  the  patients 
survived  after  having  been  reduced  to  this  apparently  hopeless 
state.  We  may  remark  also,  that  jaundice  sometimes  comes 
on  without  fever  supervening.  It  is  combated  by  taking  the 
greater  centaury,16  as  already  mentioned,  in  drink ;  agaric,  in 
doses  of  three  oboli  in  old  wine ;  or  leaves  of  vervain,  in  doses 
of  three  oboli,  taken  for  four  consecutive  days  in  one  hemina  of 
mulled  wine.  But  the  most  speedy  cure  of  all  is  effected  by 
using  juice  of  cinquefoil,  in  doses  of  three  cyathi,  with  salt 
and  honey.  Eoot  of  cyclaminos17  is  also  taken  in  drink  in 
doses  of  three  drachmae,  the  patient  sitting  in  a  warm  room 
free  from  all  cold  and  draughts,  the  infusion  expelling  the 
bile  by  its  action  as  a  sudorific. 

4  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  5  See  B.  xxxv.  c.  57. 

6  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66.  7  See  B.  xxv.  c.  101. 

8  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102.  9  See  B.  xxv.  c.  18. 

10  See  c.  37  of  this  Book.  "  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90. 

12  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  13  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73. 

14  See  B.  xxv.  c.  107.  15  B.  iv.  cc.  62,  64. 

16  See  B.  xxv.  c.  3'J.  tf  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67. 

Chap.  79.]  BEMEDIES   FOE   ABSCESSES.  201 

Leaves  of  tussilago18  are  also  used  in  water  for  this  purpose ; 
the  seed  of  either  kind  of  linozostis,19  sprinkled  in  the  drink,  or 
made  into  a  decoction  with  chick-pease  or  wormwood  :  hyssop 
berries  taken  in  water;  the  plant  lichen,20  all  other  vege- 
tables being  carefully  abstained  from  while  it  is  being  used ; 
polythrix,21  taken  in  wine  ;  and  struthion,22  in  honied  wine. 


There  are  boils  also,  known  as  "  furunculi,"23  which  make 
their  appearance  indiscriminately  on  all  parts  of  the  body,  and 
are  productive  of  the  greatest  inconvenience :  sometimes 
indeed,  when  the  constitution  is  exhausted,  they  are  fatal  in 
their  effects.  For  their  cure,  leaves  of  pycnocoinon24  are  em- 
ployed, beaten  up  with  polenta,25  if  the  boil  has  not  come  to  a 
head.  They  are  dispersed  also  by  an  application  of  leaves  of 


Fistulas,  too,  insidiously  attack  all  parts  of  the  body,  owing 
to  unskilfulness  on  the  part  of  medical  men  in  the  use  of  the 
knife.  The  smaller  centaury27  is  used  for  their  cure,  with  the 
addition  of  lotions28  and  boiled  honey  :  juice  of  plantago29  is 
also  employed,  as  an  injection  ;  cinquefoil,  mixed  with  salt  and 
honey  ;  ladanum,30  combined  with  castoreum  ;31  cotyledon,32 
applied  hot  with  stag's  marrow ;  pith  of  the  root  of  verbascum33 
reduced  to  a  liquid  state  in  the  shape  of  a  lotion,  and  injected ; 
root  of  aristolochia  ;34  or  juice  of  tithymalos.35 


Abscesses  and  inflammations  are  cured  by  an  application  of 
leaves  of  argemonia.36  For  indurations  and  gatherings  of  all 
descriptions  a  decoction  of  vervain  or  cinquefoil  in  vinegar  is 

18  Or  Bechion.     See  B.  xxiv.  c.  85. 

19  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19.  20  See  c.  10  of  this  Book. 
21  See  B.  xxv.  c.  83.  22  See  B.  xix.  c.  18. 

23  "Little  thieves,"  literally.  24  See  c.  36  of  this  Book. 

25  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14.  26  See  c.  83  of  this  Book. 

27  See  B.  xxv.  c.  31.  28  "  Collyriis." 

29  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39  ™  See  B.  xii.  c.  37,  and  c.  30  of  this  Book. 

31  See  B.  viii.  c.  47.  32  See  B.  xxv.  c.  101. 

33  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73.  34  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 

*>  See  c.  39  of  this  Book.  36  See  B.  xxv.  c.  56. 

202  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XXVI. 

used  ;  leaves  or  root  of  verbascum  ;37  a  liniment  made  of  wine 
and  hyssop  ;  root  of  acoron,38  a  decoction  of  it  being  used  as  a 
fomentation  ;  or  else  aizoiim.39  Contusions  also,  hard  tumours, 
and  fistulous  abscesses  are  treated  with  illecebra.40 

All  kinds  of  foreign  substances  which  have  pierced  the 
flesh  are  extracted  by  using  leaves  of  tussilago,41  daucus,42  or 
seed  of  leontopodium43  pounded  in  water  with  polenta.44  To 
suppurations,  leaves  of  pycnocomon45  are  applied,  beaten  up 
with  polenta,  or  else  the  seed  of  that  plant,  or  orchis.46  An 
application  of  root  of  satyrion47  is  said  to  be  a  most  efficacious 
remedy  for  deep-seated  diseases  of  the  bones.  Corrosive  ulcers 
and  all  kinds  of  gatherings  are  treated  with  sea- weed,48  used 
before  it  has  dried.  Boot,  too,  of  alcima49  disperses  gatherings. 


Burns  are  cured  by  the  agency  of  plantago,50  or  of  arction,51 
so  effectually  indeed  as  to  leave  no  scar.  The  leaves  of  this 
last  plant  are  boiled  in  water,  beaten  up,  and  applied  to  the 
sore.  Boots  of  cyclaminos52  are  used,  in  combination  with 
aizoum  ;53  the  kind  of  hypericon  also,  which  we  have  mentioned 
as  being  called  "  corissum."54 


For  diseases  of  the  sinews  and  joints,  plantago,55  beaten  up 
with  salt,  is  a  very  useful  remedy,  or  else  argemonia,56  pounded 
with  honey.  Patients  affected  with  spasms  or  tetanus  are 
rubbed  with  juice  of  peucedanum.57  For  indurations  of  the 
sinews,  juice  of  aegilops58  is  employed,  and  for  pains  in  those 
parts  of  the  body  erigeron69  or  epithymum,60  used  as  a  liniment, 

37  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73.  38  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100. 

39  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102.  40  See  B.  xxv.  c.  103. 

41  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  85.  42  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

43  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  72.  44  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

45  See  Chapters  36  and  77  of  this  Book. 

46  See  c.  62  of  this  Book.  4?  See  c.  62  of  this  Book. 

48  See  c.  66  of  this  Book. 

49  Probably  the  "  Alcea  "  of  B.  xxvii.  c.  6.     See  also  B.  xxv.  c.  77. 

50  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  6l  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  16, 
32  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.                               53  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102. 

54  Or  "  Corison."     See  c.  53  of  this  Book. 

55  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  56  See  B.  xxv.  c.  56. 
67  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  58  See  B.  xxv.  c.  93. 

59  See  B.  xxv.  c.  106.  «o  See  c.  35  of  this  Book. 

Chap.  83.]  HIPPUEIS.  203 

with  vinegar.  In  cases  of  spasms  and  opisthotony,  it  is  an 
excellent  plan  to  rub  the  part  affected  with  seed  of  the  hype- 
ricon  known  as  "  caros,"61  and  to  take  the  seed  in  drink. 
Phrynion,62  it  is  said,  will  effect  a  cure  even  when  the  sinews 
have  been  severed,  if  applied  instantaneously,  bruised  or 
chewed.  For  spasmodic  affections,  fits  of  trembling,  and  opis- 
thotony, root  of  alcima63  is  administered  in  hydromel ;  used  in 
this  manner,  it  has  a  warming  effect  when  the  limbs  are 
benumbed  with  cold. 


The  red  seed  of  the  plant  called  "  paeonia"64  arrests  haemorr- 
hage ;  the  root  also  is  possessed  of  similar  properties.  But  it 
is  clyinenus65  that  should  be  employed,  when  there  are  dis- 
charges of  blood  at  the  mouth  or  nostrils,  from  the  bowels,  or 
from  the  uterus.  In  such  cases,  lysimachia66  also  is  taken  in 
drink,  applied  topically,  or  introduced  into  the  nostrils  ;  or 
else  seed  of  plantago,67  or  cinquefoil,  is  taken  in  drink,  or  em- 
ployed in  the  form  of  a  liniment.  Hemlock  seed  is  introduced 
into  the  nostrils,  for  discharges  of  blood  there,  or  else  it  is 
pounded  and  applied  in  water ;  aizoum68  also,  and  root  of  as- 
tragalus.69 Isehsemon70  and  achillea71  likewise  arrest  haemorr- 

CHAP.     83.     (13.) HIPPURIS,      OTHERWISE      CALLED     EPHEDRON, 


Equisaetum,  a  plant  called  "  hippuris"  by  the  Greeks,  and 
which  we  have  mentioned  in  terms  of  condemnation,  when 
treating  of  meadow  lands72 — it  being,  in  fact,  a  sort  of  hair  of 
the  earth,  similar  in  appearance  to  horse- hair78 — is  used  by 
runners  for  the  purpose  of  diminishing74  the  spleen.  For  this 

61  See  c.  53  of  this  Book.  62  See  B.  xxv.  c.  76. 

63  See  Note  49  above.  64  Our  peony.     See  B.  XXY.  c.  10. 

65  See  B.  xxv.  c.  33.  66  See  B.  xxv.  c.  35. 

67  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  m  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102. 

69  See  c.  29  of  the  present  Book.      70  See  B.  xxv.  c.  45. 

71  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19. 

72  In  B.  xviii.  c.  67  ;  where  it  is  called  "  equissetis."    M.  Fraas  identifies 
it  with  the  Equisaetum  limosum  of  Linnaeus. 

73  Whence  its  name  "  equisaetum." 
7*  See  B.  xi.  c.  30. 

204  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTOBY.         [Book  XXVI. 

purpose  it  is  boiled  down  in  a  new  earthen  vessel  to  one  third, 
the  vessel  being  filled  to  the  brim,  and  the  decoction  taken 
in  doses  of  one  hemina  for  three  successive  days.  It  is  strictly 
forbidden,  however,  to  eat  any  food  of  a  greasy  nature  the  day 
before  taking  it. 

Among  the  Greeks  there  are  various  opinions  in  relation  to 
this  plant,  According  to  some,  who  give  it  the  same  name  of 
"  hippuris,"  it  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  pine  tree,  and  of  a 
swarthy  hue ;  and,  if  we  are  to  believe  them,  it  is  possessed  of 
virtues  of  such  a  marvellous  nature,  that  if  touched  by  the 
patient  only,  it  will  arrest  haemorrhage.  Some  authorities  call  it 
"  hippuris, "others,  again,  "ephedron,"  and  others  "anabasis;" 
and  they  tell  us  that  it  grows  near  trees,  the  trunks  of  which  it 
ascends,  and  hangs  down  therefrom  in  numerous  tufts  of  black, 
rush-like  hair,  much  like  a  horse's  tail  in  appearance.  The 
branches,  we  are  told,  are  thin  and  articulated,  and  the  leaves, 
few  in  number,  small,  and  thin,  the  seed  round,  and  similar  to 
coriander  in  appearance,  and  the  root  ligneous :  it  grows,  they 
say,  in  plantations  more  particularly. 

This  plant  is  possessed  of  astringent  properties.  The  juice 
of  it,  kept  in  the  nostrils,  arrests  bleeding  therefrom,  and  it 
acts  astringently  upon  the  bowels.  Taken  in  doses  of  three 
cyathi,  in  sweet  wine,  it  is  a  cure  for  dysentery,  is  an  efficient 
diuretic,  and  is  curative  of  cough,  hardness  of  breathing,  rup- 
tures, and  serpiginous  affections.  For  diseases  of  the  intestines 
and  bladder,  the  leaves  are  taken  in  drink ;  it  has  the  property, 
also,  of  reducing  ruptures  of  the  groin. 

The  Greek  writers  describe  another75  hippuris,  also,  with 
shorter  tufts,  softer  and  whiter.  This  last,  they  say,  is  remark- 
ably good  for  sciatica,  and,  applied  with  vinegar,  for  wounds, 
it  having  the  property  of  stanching  the  blood.  Bruised  nym- 
phaea76  is  also  applied  to  wounds.  Peucedanum77is  taken  in  drink 
with  cypress  seed,  for  discharges  of  blood  at  the  mouth  or  by 
the  lower  passages.  Sideritis79  is  possessed  of  such  remark- 
able virtues,  that  applied  to  the  wound  of  a  gladiator  just 
inflicted,  it  will  stop  the  flow  of  blood ;  an  effect  which  is  equally 
produced  by  an  application  of  charred  fennel-giant,  or  of  the 

75  Identified  by  Littre  with  the  Ephedra  fragilis  of  Linnaeus.  Fee  gives 
as  its  synonym  the  Equisaetum  arvense  of  Linnaeus,  the  Common  horse-tail, 
or  Corn  horse-tail.  76  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37. 

77  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  ™  See  B.  xxv.  c.  15. 

Chap.  85.]  REMEDIES   FOE   RUPTURES.  205 

ashes  of  that  plant.  For  a  similar  purpose,  also,  the  fungus 
that  is  found  growing  near  the  root  of  fennel-giant  is  still 
more  efficacious. 


For  bleeding  at  the  nostrils,  seed  of  hemlock,  pounded  in 
water,  is  considered  efficacious,  as  also  stephanomelis,79  applied 
with  water.  Powdered  betony,  taken  with  goat's  milk,  or 
bruised  plantago,80  arrests  discharges  of  blood  from  the  ma- 
millae.  Juice  of  plantago  is  administered  to  patients  when 
vomiting  blood.  For  local  discharges  of  blood,  an  application  of 
root  of  persolata81  with  stale  axle-grease  is  highly  spoken  of. 



For  ruptures,  convulsions,  and  falls  with  violence,  the  greater 
centaury*-  is  used ;  root  of  gentian  pounded  or  boiled  ;  j  uice  of 
betony — this  last  being  employed  also  for  ruptures  produced  by 
straining  the  vocal  organs  or  sides — panaces  j83  scordium  j84  or 
aristolochia85  taken  in  drink.  For  contusions  and  falls,  agaric 
is  taken,  in  doses  of  two  oboli,  in  three  cyathi  of  honied  wine, 
or  if  there  are  symptoms  of  fever,  hydromel ;  the  verbascum,86 
also,  with  a  golden  flower ;  root  of  acoron  ;87  the  several  varieties 
of  aizoiim,88  the  juice  of  the  larger  kind  being  particularly 
efficacious;  juice  of  symphytum,89  or  a  decoction  of  the  root  of 
that  plant ;  daucus,90  unboiled ;  erysithales,91  a  plant  with  a 
yellow  flower  and  a  leaf  like  that  of  acanthus,  taken  in  wine ; 
chamaerops  ;92  irio,93  taken  in  pottage ;  plantago94  taken  any 
way,  as  also  *  *  *  * 

79  Dalechamps  identifies  it  with  the  Potentilla  anserina  of  Linnaeus, 
Silver- weed,  or  White  tansy ;  bat  on  insufficient  grounds,  Fee  thinks. 

80  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  bl  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66. 

82  See  B.  xxv.  c.  30.  83  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq. 

84  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27.  85  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 

be  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73.  87  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100. 

88  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102.  89  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  24. 

90  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

91  C.  Bauhin  identifies  it  with  the  Cnicus  erysithales  of  Willdeuow ;   - 
but  that  plant,  Fee  says,  was  unknown  to  the  Greeks. 

9*  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  80.  »3  See  B.  xviii.  c.  10. 

94  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39., 

206  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVI. 


Phthiriasis  is  a  disease  which  proved  fatal  to  the  Dictator 
Sylla,95  and  which  developes  itself  by  the  production  of  insects 
in  the  blood,  which  ultimately  consume  the  body.  It  is  combated 
by  using  the  juice  of  Taminian  grapes96  or  of  hellebore,  the 
body  being  rubbed  all  over  with  it,  in  combination  with  oil. 
A  decoction  of  Taminian  grapes  in  vinegar,  has  the  effect,  also, 
of  ridding  the  clothes  of  these  vermin. 

CHAP.  87.    (14.) REMEDIES   FOR   ULCERS   AND    WOUNDS. 

Of  ulcers  there  are  numerous  kinds,  which  are  treated  in 
various  ways.  The  root  of  all  the  varieties  of  panaces97  is 
used  as  an  application  for  running  ulcers,  in  warm  wine. 

That  which  we  have  spoken  of  as  the  "  chironion"98  is  par- 
ticularly good  as  a  desiccative :  bruised  with  honey,  it  opens 
tumours,  and  is  useful  for  serpiginoyiis  ulcers,  the  cure  of  which 
appears  more  than  doubtful ;  in  which  case  it  is  amalgamated 
with  flower99  of  copper  tempered  with  wine,  either  the  seed, 
flower,  or  root,  being  employed  for  the  purpose.  Mixed  with 
polenta1  it  is  good  for  old  wounds.  The  following  are  also 
good  detergents  for  wounds :  heraclion  siderion,2  apollinaris,3 
psyllion,4  tragacantha,5  and  scordotis 6  mixed  with  honey. 
Powdered  scordotis,  applied  by  itself,  consumes  fleshy  excres- 
cences on  the  body.  Polemonia7  is  curative  of  the  malignant 
ulcer  known  as  "  cacoethes."  The  greater  centaury,8  sprinkled 
in  powder,  or  applied  in  the  form  of  a  liniment,  or  the  leaves  of 
the  smaller9  centaury,  boiled  or  pounded,  act  as  a  detergent 
upon  inveterate  ulcers,  and  effect  a  cure.  To  recent  wounds, 
the  follicules  of  the  clymenus10  are  applied.  Gentian  is  applied 
to  serpiginous  ulcers,  the  root  being  bruised  or  else  boiled  down 
in  water  to  the  consistency  of  honey ;  the  juice  also  of  the 
plant  is  employed.  For  wounds,  a  kind  of  lycium11  is  prepared 
from  gentian. 

95  See  B.  xi.  c.  39,  and  B.  xx.  c.  32.  96  See  B.  xxiii.  c.  13. 

97  See  B.  XXT.  c.  11,  et  seq.  98  See  B.  xxv.  c.  15. 

99  For  a  description  of  this  substance,  see  B.  xxxiv.  c.  24. 

1  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14.  2  See  B.  xxv.  c.  15. 

3  See  B.  xxv.  c.  17.  4  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90. 

5  See  B.  xiii.  c.  36.  6  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27. 

7  See  B.  xxv.  c.  28.  8  See  B.  xxv.  c.  30. 

9  See  B.  xxv.  c.  31.  10  See  B.  xxv.  c.  33. 
11  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  77. 

Chap.  87.]  EEHEBIES   FOR   TJLCEKS.  207 

Lysimachia12  is  curative  of  recent  wounds,  and  plantago13  of 
all  kinds  of  ulcerations, those  on  females,  infants,  and  aged  per- 
sons more  particularly.  This  plant,  when  softened  by  the  action 
of  fire,  is  better  still :  in  combination  with  cerate  it  acts  as  a 
detergent  upon  ulcers  with  indurated  edges,  and  arrests  the 
progress  of  corrosive  sores :  when  applied  bruised,  it  should  be 
covered  with  its  own  leaves.  Chelidonia14  also  acts  as  a 
desiccative  upon  suppurations,  abscesses,  and  fistulous  ulcers  ; 
indeed,  it  is  so  remarkably  useful  for  the  cure  of  wounds,  as 
to  be  employed  as  a  substitute  for  spodium15  even.  In  cases 
where  the  cure  is  almost  hopeless,  it  is  applied  with  axle- 
grease.  Dittany,16  taken  internally,  causes  arrows  to  fall  from 
the  flesh  ;  used  as  a  liniment,  it  has  the  effect  of  extracting  other 
kinds  of  pointed  weapons :  the  leaves  are  taken  in  the  pro- 
portion of  one  obolus  to  one  cyathus  of  water.  Nearly  equal 
in  its  efficacy  is  pseudo-dictamnon  : 17  they  are  both  of  them 
useful,  also,  for  dispersing  suppurations. 

Aristolochia18  cauterizes  putrid  sores,  and,  applied  with  honey, 
acts  as  a  detergent  upon  sordid  ulcers.  At  the  same  time  also, 
it  removes  maggots,  and  extracts  hard  cores,  and  all  foreign 
bodies  adhering  to  the  flesh,  arrows  more  particularly,  and, 
applied  with  resin,  splintered  bones.  Used  by  itself,  it  fills  the 
cavities  made  by  ulcers  with  new  flesh,  and,  employed  with 
iris,19  in  vinegar,  it  closes  recent  wounds.  Vervain,  or  cinque- 
foil  with  salt  and  honey,  is  remedial  for  ulcers  of  long  stand- 
ing. Roots  of  persolata20  are  applied  to  recent  wounds  in- 
flicted with  iron,  but  for  old  wounds,  it  is  the  leaves  that  are 
employed  :  in  both  cases,  in  combination  with  axle-grease,  the 
sore  being  then  covered  with  the  leaves  of  the  plant.  Damaso- 
niuin21  is  used  for  wounds  the  same  way  as  for  scrofula,22  and 
leaves  of  verbascum23  are  employed  with  vinegar  or  wine. 

Vervain  is  useful  for  all  kinds  of  callosities  or  putrid  sores ; 
root  of  nympha3a  heraclia24  is  curative  of  running  ulcers  ;  and 

12  See  B.  xxv.  c.  35.  13  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39. 

14  See  B.  xxv.  c.  50. 

15  See  B.  xix.  c.  4,  B.  xxiii.  c.  35,  and  B.  xxxiv.  c.  52. 

16  See  B.  xxv.  c.  53. 

17  Bastard  dittany.     See  B.  xxv.  C.  53. 

18  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54.  w  See  B.  xxi.  c.  19. 
20  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66.                               21  gee  B.  xxv.  c,  77. 
22  See  c.  12  of  this  Book.                       23  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73. 
34  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37. 


the  same  is  the  case  with  root  of  cyclaminos,26  either  used  by 
itself,  or  in  combination  with  vinegar  or  honey.  This  last  root 
is  useful  also  for  the  cure  of  steatomatous  tumours,  and  hyssop 
for  that  of  running  ulcers  ;  an  effect  equally  produced  by  peu- 
cedanum,26a  plant  which  exercises  so  powerful  an  influence  upon 
fresh  wounds,  as  to  cause  exfoliation  even  of  the  bones.  The  two 
varieties  of  anagallis27  are  possessed  of  similar  properties,  and 
act  as  a  check  upon  the  corrosive  sores  known  as  "  nomae"  and 
upon  defluxions;  they  are  useful  also  in  cases  of  recent  wounds, 
those  of  aged  people  in  particular.  Fresh  leaves  of  niandra- 
gora,28  applied  with  cerate,  are  curative  of  apostemes  and 
sordid  ulcers:  the  root  too  is  used,  with  honey  or  oil,  for  wounds. 

Hemlock,  incorporated  with  flour  of  winter  wheat29  by  the 
agency  of  wine — as  also  the  plant  aizoum30 — is  curative  of  her- 
petic  eruptions,  and  corrosive  or  putrid  sores.  Erigeron*1 
is  employed  for  ulcers  which  breed  maggots.  Boot  of  astra- 
galus32 is  used  for  the  cure  of  recent  wounds  or  of  ulcers  of 
long  standing  ;  and  upon  these  last  either  kind  of  hypocisthis33 
acts  as  a  detergent.  Seed  of  leontopodium,34  bruised  in  water 
and  applied  with  polenta,35  extracts  pointed  weapons  from  the 
flesh  :  a  result  equally  produced  by  using  seed  of  pycnocomon.36 
The  tithymalos  characias37  supplies  its  juice  for  the  cure  of  gan- 
grenes, phagedaenic  sores,  and  putrid  ulcers;  or  else  a  decoction 
is  made  of  the  branches  with  polenta  and  oil.  Roots  of  or- 
chis38 have  a  similar  effect ;  in  addition  to  which,  applied, 
either  dry  or  fresh  gathered,  with  honey  and  vinegar,  they  are 
curative  of  the  ulcer  known  as  "  cacoethes."  Onothera39  also, 
used  by  itself,  is  curative  of  ulcers  when  rapidly  gaining  head. 

The  people  of  Scythia  employ  scythice40  for  the  treatment 
of  wounds.  For  carcinoma,  argemonia,41  applied  with  honey, 
is  extremely  efficacious.  For  sores  that  have  prematurely 
closed,  root  of  asphodel  is  boiled,  in  manner  already42  stated, 

25  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.  26  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70. 

27  See  B.  xxv.  c.  92.  28  See  B.  xxv.  c.  94. 

29  "Siligo."  See  B.  xviii.  c.  20.  30  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102. 

31  See  B.  xxv.  c.  106.  33  See  c.  29  of  this  Book. 

33  See  c.  31  of  this  Book.  34  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  72. 

35  See  B.  xxviii.  c.  14.  36  See  c.  36  of  this  Book. 

37  See  c.  39  of  this  Book.  38  See  c.  62  of  this  Book. 

39  See  c.  69  of  this  Book. 

40  Our  "liquorice,"  see  B.  xxv.  c.  43. 

41  See  B.  xxv.  c.  66.  *2  In  B.  xxii.  c.  33. 

Chap.  89.]  EEMEDIES   FOB  WAETS.  209 

and  then  beaten  up  with  polenta,43  and  applied.  For  all  kinds 
of  wounds  apollinaris44  is  very  useful.  Root  of  astragalus,45 
reduced  to  powder,  is  good  for  running  ulcers  ;  the  same,  too, 
with  callithrix,46  boiled  in  water.  For  blisters,  more  particu- 
larly when  caused  by  the  shoes,  vervain  is  used,  as  also  pounded 
lysimachia, 47  or  nymphsea48  dried  and  powdered ;  but  when 
they  have  assumed  the  form  of  inveterate  ulcers,  polythrix4® 
will  be  found  more  serviceable. 


Polycnemon50  is  a  plant  which  resembles  cunila  bubula ; 5l 
it  has  a  seed  like  that  of  pennyroyal,  a  ligneous  stem  with 
numerous  articulations,  and  odoriferous  umbels,  with  a  plea- 
sant though  pungent  smell.  This  plant  is  chewed  and  applied 
to  wounds  inflicted  with  iron,  the  application  being  removed 
at  the  end  of  four  days.  Symphyton53  causes  sores  to  cicatrize 
with  the  greatest  rapidity;  the  same,  too,  with  sideritis,53 
which  is  applied  in  combination  with  honey.  The  seed  and 
leaves  of  verbascum,54  boiled  in  wine  and  pounded,  are  used  for 
the  extraction  of  all  foreign  substances  adhering  to  the  body;  and 
a  similar  use  is  made  of  leaves  of  mandragora85  mixed  with  po- 
lenta,56 and  roots  of  cyclaminos57  with  honey.  Leaves  of  trixago,53 
bruised  in  oil,  are  used  for  ulcers  of  a  serpiginous  nature  more 
particularly,  as  also  sea- weed  bruised  with  honey.  Betony, 
with  the  addition  of  salt,  is  employed  for  the  cure  of  carcino- 
matous  sores  and  inveterate  blisters  on  the  neck. 



Argemonia59  with  vinegar,  or  root  of  batrachion,60  removes 
warts ;  this  last  having  the  effect  also  of  bringing  off  malformed 

43  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14.  44  See  B.  xxv.  c.  17. 

45  See  c.  29  of  this  Book. 

46  See  B.  xxii.  c.  30,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  86.  47  See  B.  xxv.  c.  35. 
48  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37.                               49  See  Note  46  above. 

50  Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Mentha  cervina,  or  Stag  mint. 

51  See  B.  xix.  c.  50,  and  B.  xx.  c.  61. 

52  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  24.  53  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19. 
54  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73.  55  See  B.  xxv.  c.  94. 
56  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14.  57  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67. 
58  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  80.  59  See  B.  xxv.  c.  56. 
60  See  B.  xxv.  c.  109. 

VOL.  Y.  p 

210  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVI. 

nails.  The  juice  or  the  leaves,  applied  topically,  of  either 
kind  of  linozostis,61  remove  warts.  All  the  varieties  of  tithy- 
malos62  are  efficacious  for  the  removal  of  every  kind  of  wart, 
as  also  of  hangnails63  and  wens.  Ladanum64  imparts  a  fresh 
colour  and  seemly  appearance  to  scars. 

(15.)  The  traveller  who  carries  artemisia65  attached  to  his 
person,  or  elelisphacus, 66  will  never  be  sensible  of  lassitude,  it 
is  said. 


One  great  remedy  for  all  female  diseases  in  common,  is  the 
black  seed  of  the  herbaceous  plant  paeonia,67  taken  in  hydro- 
mel :  the  root  also  is  an  effectual  emmenagogue.  Seed  of 
panaces,68  mixed  with  wormwood,  acts  as  an  emmenagogue  and 
as  a  sudorific:  the  same,  too,  with  scordotis,69  taken  internally 
or  applied  topically.  Betony,  in  doses  of  one  drachma  to 
three  cyathi  of  wine,  is  taken  for  various  affections  of  the 
uterus,  as  also  directly  after  child-birth.  Excessive  menstru- 
ation is  arrested  by  a  pessary  of  achillea,70  or  else  a  sitting-bath 
composed  of  a  decoction  of  that  plant.  Seed  of  henbane  in 
wine  is  used  as  a  liniment  for  diseases  of  the  mamillge, 
and  the  root  is  employed  in  the  form  of  a  plaster  for  uterine 
affections ;  chelidonia,71  too,  is  applied  to  the  mamillaB. 

Boots  of  panaces,72  applied  as  a  pessary,  bring  away  the 
after-birth  and  the  dead  foetus,  and  the  plant  itself,  taken  in 
wine,  or  used  as  a  pessary  with  honey,  acts  as  a  detergent 
upon  the  uterus.  Polemonia,73  taken  in  wine,  brings  away  the 
after-birth ;  used  as  a  fumigation,  it  is  good  for  suffocations  of 
the  uterus.  Juice  of  the  smaller  centaury,74  taken  in  drink,  or 
employed  as  a  fomentation,  acts  as  an  emmenagogue.  The  root 
also  of  the  larger  centaury,  similarly  used,  is  good  for  pains  in 
the  uterus ;  scraped  and  used  as  a  pessary,  it  expels  the 
dead  foatus.  For  pains  of  the  uterus,  plantago75  is  applied  as 
a  pessary,  in  wool,  and  for  hysterical  suffocations,  it  is  taken  in 

61  See  B.  xxv.  c.  18.  62  See  c.  39  of  this  Book,  et  seq. 

es  u  pterygia."  64  See  B.  xii,  c.  37  and  c.  30  of  this  Book. 

65  See  B.  xxv.  c.  81.  66  See  B.  xxii.  c.  71. 

67  See  B.  xxv.  c,  10.  68  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq. 

69  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27.  70  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19. 

71  See  B.  xxv.  c.  50.  72  See  B.  xxv.  c.  11,  et  seq. 

73  See  B.  xxv.  c.  28.  74  See  B.  xxv.  c.  31. 

™  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39. 

Chap.  90.]  EEMEDIES  FOB   FEMALE   DISEASES.  211 

drink.  But  it  is  dittany  that  is  of  the  greatest  efficacy  in  cases 
of  this  description ;  it  acts  as  an  emmenagogue,  and  is  an  ex- 
pellent  of  the  foetus  when  dead  or  lying  transversely  in  the 
uterus.  In  these  cases  the  leaves  of  it  are  taken,  in  doses  of 
one  obolus,  in  water :  indeed  so  active  is  it  in  its  effects  that 
ordinarily  it  is  forbidden  to  be  introduced  into  the  chamber  of 
a  woman  lying-in.  Not  only  is  it  thus  efficacious  when  taken 
in  drink,  but  even  when  applied  topically  or  used  as  a  fumiga- 
tion. Pseudodictamnum76  possesses  pretty  nearly  the  same  vir- 
tues, but  it  acts  as  an  emmenagogue  also,  boiled  in  doses  of  one 
denarius  in  unmixed  wine.  Aristolochia,77  however,  is  employed 
for  a  greater  number  of  purposes :  in  combination  with  myrrh 
and  pepper,  either  taken  in  drink  or  used  as  a  pessary,  it  acts 
as  a  powerful  emmenagogue,  and  brings  away  the  dead  foetus 
and  the  after-birth.  This  plant,  the  smaller  kind  in  particular, 
used  either  as  a  fomentation,  fumigation,  or  pessary,  acts  as  a 
preventive  of  procidence  of  the  uterus. 

Hysterical  suffocations  and  irregularities  of  the  catamenia 
are  treated  with  agaric,  taken  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  in  one 
cyathus  of  old  wine :  vervain  is  used  also  in  similar  cases,  as  a 
pessary,  with  fresh  hog's  lard  ;  or  else  antirrhinum,78  with  rose 
oil  and  honey.  Root  of  Thessalian  nymph  aea,79  used  as  a 
pessary,  is  curative  of  pains  in  the  uterus ;  taken  in  red  wine, 
it  arrests  uterine  discharges.  Boot  of  cyclaminos,80  on  the 
other  hand,  taken  in  drink  and  employed  as  a  pessary,  acts  as 
an  emmenagogue :  a  decoction  of  it,  used  as  a  sitting-bath, 
cures  affections  of  the  bladder.  Cissanthemos,81  taken  in  drink, 
brings  away  the  after-birth,  and  is  curative  of  diseases  of  the 
uterus.  The  upper  part  of  the  root  of  xiphion,82  taken  in 
doses  of  one  drachma,  in  vinegar,  promotes  menstruation.  A 
fumigation  of  burnt  peucedanum83  has  a  soothing  effect  in 
cases  of  hysterical  suffocation.  Psyllion,84  taken  in  the  pro- 
portion of  one  drachma  to  three  cyathi  of  hydromel,  is  par- 
ticularly good  for  promoting  the  lochial  discharge.  Seed  of 
mandragora,65  taken  in  drink,  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  the 

76  "  Bastard  dittany."  See  B.  xxv.  c.  53.    77  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 

73  See  B.  xxv.  c.  80.  79  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37. 

80  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.  81  See  B.  XXT.  c.  68, 

82  See  B.  xxv.  c.  88.  83  See  B.  xxv.  c  70. 

84  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90.  85  gee  B  xxv<  c>  94> 

P  2 


uterus;  the  juice,  employed  in  a  pessary,  promotes  menstruation 
and  expels  the  dead  foetus.  The  seed  of  this  plant,  used  with 
live  sulphur,86  arrests  menstruation  when  in  excess ;  while  ba- 
trachion,87  on  the  other  hand,  acts  as  an  emmenagogue.  This 
last  plant  is  either  used  as  an  article  of  food,  or  is  taken  in 
drink :  in  a  raw  state,  as  already  stated,88  it  has  a  burning 
flavour  ;  but  when  cooked,  the  taste  of  it  is  greatly  improved  by 
the  addition  of  salt,  oil,  and  cummin.  Daucus,89  taken  in  drink, 
promotes  the  catamenia,  and  is  an  expellent  of  the  after-birth 
in  a  very  high  degree.  Ladanum,90  used  as  a  fumigation,  acts 
as  a  corrective  upon  the  uterus,  and  is  employed  topically  for 
pains  and  ulcerations  of  that  organ. 

Scammony,  taken  in  drink  or  used  as  a  pessary,  is  an  ex- 
pellent of  the  dead  foetus.  Either  kind  of  hypericon,91  used 
as  a  pessary,  promotes  menstruation :  but  for  this  purpose  it 
is  crethmos,92  according  to  Hippocrates,  that  is  the  most  effica- 
cious, the  seed  or  root  of  it  being  taken  in  wine.93  *  *  * 
of  the  outer  coat  brings  away  the  after-birth.  This  plant, 
taken  in  water,  is  good  for  hysterical  suffocations ;  root  of 
geranion94  also,  which  is  peculiarly  useful  for  the  after-birth, 
and  for  inflation  of  the  uterus.  Hippuris,95  taken  in  drink 
or  applied  as  a  pessary,  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  the  uterus : 
polygonos,96  taken  in  drink,  promotes  menstruation  ;  and  the 
same  with  root  of  alcima.97  Leaves  of  plantago,98  and  agaric 
in  hydromel,  have  a  similar  effect.  Artemisia,99  bruised  and 
applied  as  a  pessary,  with  oil  of  iris,1  figs,  or  myrrh,  is  curative 
of  diseases  of  the  uterus ;  the  root,  too,  of  this  plant,  taken 
in  drink,  is  so  strongly  purgative  as  to  expel  the  dead  foetus 
even.  A  decoction  of  the  branches,  used  as  a  sitting-bath, 
promotes  menstruation  and  brings  away  the  after-birth ;  the 

86  See  B.  xxxv.  c.  50.  87  See  B.  xxv.  c.  109. 

88  In  B.  xxv.  c.  109.  89  See  B.  xxv.  c.  64. 

90  See  B.  xii.  c.  37,  and  c.  30  of  this  Book. 

91  See  Chapters  53  and  54  of  this  Book. 

92  See  B.  xxv.  c.  96. 

93  Probahly  the  word  "juice,"  or  "  decoction,-'  is  lost  here. 

94  See  c.  68  of  this  Book. 

35  See  Chapters  20  and  83  of  this  Book.  M  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  91. 

97  The  same  as  "Alcea"  probably;   see  Chapters  79  and  81  of  this 
Book.    Also  B.  xxvii.  c.  6. 

98  See  B.  xxv.  c.  39.  99  See  B.  xxv.  c.  36. 
1  See  B.  xiii.  c.  2,  and  B.  xxi.  cc.  19,  83. 

Chap.  91.]  ARSENOGONON.  213 

same,  too,  with  the  leaves,  taken  in  doses  of  one  drachma  in 
drink.  The  leaves,  if  applied  to  the  lower  regions  of  the 
abdomen  with  barley-meal,  will  prove  equally  efficacious. 

Acoron2  is  very  useful  for  internal  complaints  of  females ; 
as  also  the  two  varieties  of  conyza,3  and  crethmos.4  Either 
kind  of  anthyllis,6  taken  in  wine,  is  remarkably  good  for  uterine 
affections,  griping  pains  in  that  organ,  and  retardations  of  the 
after- birth.  Callithrix,6  applied  as  a  fomentation,  is  curative 
of  affections  of  the  vagina :  it  removes  scaly  eruptions7  also 
of  the  head,  and,  beaten  up  in  oil,  it  stains  the  hair.  Ge- 
ranion,8  taken  in  white  wine,  or  hypocisthis9  in  red,  arrests 
all  uterine  discharges.  Hyssop  modifies  hysterical  suffocations. 
Eoot  of  vervain,  taken  in  water,  is  a  most  excellent  remedy 
for  all  accidents  incident  to,  or  consequent  upon,  delivery. 
Some  persons  mix  bruised  cypress  seed  with  peucedanum10  in 
red  wine.  Seed,  too,  of  psyllion,^  boiled  in  water  and  taken 
warm,  has  a  soothing  effect  upon  all  defluxions  of  the  uterus. 
Symphyton,12  bruised  in  wine,  promotes  menstruation.  Juice 
of  scordotis,13  in  the  proportion  of  one  drachma  to  four  cyathi 
of  hydromel,  accelerates  delivery.  Leaves  of  dittany  are  given 
for  the  same  purpose,  in  water,  with  remarkable  success.  It 
is  a  well-known  fact,  too,  that  these  leaves,  to  the  extent  of  a 
single  obolus  even,  will  bring  away  the  foetus  instantaneously, 
even  when  dead,  without  the  slightest  inconvenience  to  the 
patient.  Pseudodictamnum 14  is  productive  of  a  somewhat 
similar  effect,  but  not  in  so  marked  a  degree :  cyclaminos,16 
too,  attached  as  an  amulet ;  cissanthemos,16  taken  in  drink ; 
and  powdered  betony,  in  hydromel. 



Arsenogonon17  and  thelygonon  are  plants,  both  of   them, 

2  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100.  3  See  B.  xxi.  c.  29. 

4  See  B.  xxv.  c.  96.  5  See  B.  xxi.  c.  103. 

6  See  B.  xxii.  e.  30,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  86.         7  "  Albugines." 

8  See  c.  68  of  this  Book.  9  See  c.  31  of  this  Book. 

10  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  n  See  B.  xxv.  c.  90. 

12  See  B.  xxvii.  c.  24.  13  See  B.  xxv.  c.  27. 

14  See  B.  xxv.  c.  53.  15  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67. 

16  See  B.  xxv.  c.  68. 

17  These  two  plants,  the  names  of  which  signify  "  begetting  males," 

214  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTOET.          [Book  XXVI. 

with  clusters  resembling  the  blossoms  of  the  olive,  but  paler, 
and  a  white  seed  like  that  of  the  poppy.  By  taking  thely- 
gonon  in  drink,  they  say,  the  conception  of  female  issue  is  en- 
sured. Arsenogonon  differs  from  it  in  the  seed,  which 
resembles  that  of  the  olive,  but  in  no  other  respect.  By 
taking  this  last  plant  in  drink,  male  issue  may  be  ensured — 
that  is,  if  we  choose  to  believe  it.  Some  persons,  however, 
assert  that  both  plants  resemble  ocimum,18  but  that  the  seed 
of  arsenogonon  is  double,  and  resembles  the  testes  in  appearance. 


Aizoiim,  which  we  have  spoken  of  under  the  name  of  digi- 
tellus,19  is  the  great  specific  for  diseases  of  the  mamillse.  The 
milk  is  increased  by  taking  erigeron20  in  raisin  wine,  or  else 
sonchos21  boiled  with  spelt.  The  plant  known  as  "  mastos,"22 
applied  topically,  removes  the  hairs  from  the  mamillae,23  which 
make  their  appearance  after  child-birth :  it  has  the  effect  also 
of  dispersing  scaly  crusts 24  upon  the  face,  and  other  cutaneous 
affections.  Gentian  also,  nymph  a?a  heraclia25  employed  in  a 
liniment,  and  root  of  cyclaminos,26  remove  all  blemishes  of  the 
skin.  Seeds  of  cacalia,27  mixed  with  melted  wax,  plump 
out  the  skin  of  the  face  and  make  wrinkles  disappear.  Boot 
of  acoron,28  also,  removes  all  spots  upon  the  skin. 


Lysimachia29  imparts  a  blonde  tint30  to  the  hair,  and  the  hy- 
pericon,31  otherwise  called  "  corisson,"  makes  it  black.  The 
same  too,  with  ophrys,32  a  plant  with  indentations,  which  re- 

and  "  begetting  females,"  are  identified  by  Fee  as  the  male  and  the  female 
of  the  same  plant,  the  Mercurialis  tomentosa  of  Linnaeus,  the  "Woolly 
mercury.  Littre  gives  the  Mercurialis  perennis  of  Linnaeus,  Dog's  mer- 
cury ;  and  Desfontaines  identifies  them  with  the  Thelygonum  cynocrambe. 

18  See  B.  xxi.  c.  60.  19  In  B.  xxv.  c.  102. 

20  See  B.  xxv.  c.  106.  21  See  B.  xxii.  c.  44. 

22  Meaning  the   "  breast "  plant.     It  has  not  been  identified. 

23  See  B.  xxxii.  c.  10.  24  "Testes." 

25  See  B.  xxv.  c.  37.  26  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67. 

27  See  B.  xxv.  c.  85.  28  See  B.  xxv.  c.  100. 

29  See  B.  xxy.  c.  35. 

30  The  most  highly  esteemed  among  the  Romans  of  all  colours  of  the  hair. 

31  See  Chapter  53  of  this  Book. 

sz  The  "  eye-brow  "  plant.    It  is  identified  by  Fee  with  the  Ophrys 

Chap.  93.]  SUMMAEY.  215 

sembles  the  cabbage,  but  has  only  two  leaves.  Polemonia,33 
too,  boiled  in  oil,  imparts  blackness  to  the  hair. 

As  for  depilatories,  I  reckon  them  in  the  number  of  cos- 
metics, fit  for  women  only,  though  men  use  them  now-a-days. 
For  this  purpose  archezostis 34  is  looked  upon  as  highly 
efficacious,  as  also  juice  of  tithymalos,35  applied  with  oil 
every  now  and  then  in  the  sun,  or  after  pulling  out  the  hairs. 
Hyssop,  applied  with  oil,  heals  itch-scab  in  beasts,  and  side- 
ritis 36  is  particularly  useful  for  quinzy  in  swine. 

But  let  us  now  turn  to  the  remaining  plants  of  which  we 
have  to  speak. 

SUMMARY. — Remedies,  narratives,  and  observations,  one 
thousand  and  nineteen. 

ROMAN  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — M.  Varro,37  C.  Valgius,38  Pom- 
peius  Lenseus,39  Sextius  Niger40  who  wrote  in  Greek,  Julius 
Bassus41  who  wrote  in  Greek,  Antonius  Castor,42  Cornelius 

FOREIGN  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Theophrastus,44  Democritus,46 
Juba,46  Orpheus,47  Pythagoras,48  Mago,49  Menander  M  who  wrote 
the  "  Biochresta,"  Nicander,61  Homer,  Hesiod,52  Musaeus,53 
Sophocles,54  Xanthus,55  Anaxilaiis.56 

MEDICAL  AUTHORS    QUOTED.  —  Mnesitheus,57   Callimachus,68 

ovata  or  bifolia  of  Linnaeus,  Ivy  blade.  The  indentations  in  the  leaves 
are  almost  imperceptible. 

•8s  See  B.  xxv.  c.  28.  34  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  70. 

35  See  c.  39  of  this  Book,  et  seg.         36  See  B.  xxv.  c.  19. 

37  See  end  of  B.  ii.  **  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

39  See  end  of  B.  xiv.  40  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

41  See  end  of  B.  xx.  42  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

43  See  end  of  B.  vii.  44  See  end  of  B.  iii. 

45  See  end  of  B.  ii.  *  See  end  of  B.  v. 

4"  See  end  of  B.  xx.  48  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

49  See  end  of  B.  viii.  50  See  end  of  B.  xix. 

51  See  end  of  B.  viii.  52  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

53  See  end  of  B.  xxi.  ^  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

55  See  end  of  B.  xxv.  &  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

57  See  end  of  B.  xxi.  w  See  end  of  B.  iv. 

216  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XXVI. 

Phanias59  the  physician,  Timaristus,60  Simus,61  Hippocrates,62 
Chrysippus,63  Diocles,64  Ophelion,65  Heraclides,66  Hicesius,67 
Dionysius,68  Apollodorus 69  of  Citium,  Apollodorus 70  of  Taren- 
tum,  Praxagoras,71  Plistonicus,72  Medius,73  Dieuches,74  Cleophan- 
tus,75Philistion,76  Asclepiades,77  Creteuas,78  Petronius  Diadotus,79 
lollas,80  Erasistratus,81  Diagoras,83  Andreas,83  Mnesides,84  Epi- 
charmus,85  Damion,86  Tlepolemus,87  Metrodorus,88  Solo,89 
Lycus,90  Olympias91  of  Thebes,  Philinus,92  Petrichus,93  Micton,94 
Glaucias,95  Xenocrates.96 

59  See  end  of  B.  xxi.  eo  gee  en^  Of  B.  xxi. 

61  See  end  of  B.  xxi.  62  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

63  See  end  of  B.  xx.  «*  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

65  See  end  of  B.  xx.  ««  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

67  See  end  of  B.  xv.  68  See  end  of  B.  xii. 
69  See  end  of  B.  xx.                     •     70  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

71  See  end  of  B.  xx.  72  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

73  See  end  of  B.  xx.  74  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

75  See  end  of  B.  xx.  76  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

77  See  end  of  B.  vii.  78  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

79  See  end  of  B.  xx.  8»  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

81  See  end  of  B.  xi.  **  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

83  See  end  of  B.  xx.  84  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

85  See  end  of  B.  xx.  **  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

67  See  end  of  B.  xx.  88  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

89  See  end  of  B.  xx.  9°  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

91  See  end  of  B.  xx.  **  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

93  See  end  of  B.  xix.  94  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

S5  See  end  of  B.  xx.  95  See  end  of  B.  xx. 




CHAP.    1.    (1.) raSEABCHES  OF  THE  ANCIENTS  tf PON  THIS 


THE  further  I  proceed  in  this  work,  the  more  I  am  impressed 
with  admiration  of  the  ancients  ;  and  the  greater  the  number 
of  plants  that  remain  to  be  described,  the  more  I  am  induced 
to  venerate  the  zeal  displayed  by  the  men  of  former  times  in 
their  researches,  and  the  kindly  spirit  manifested  by  them  in 
transmitting  to  us  the  results  thereof.  Indeed  their  bounteous- 
ness  in  this  respect  would  almost  seem  to  have  surpassed  the 
munificent  disposition  even  of  Nature  herself,  if  our  knowledge 
of  plants  had  depended  solely  upon  man's  spirit  of  discovery  : 
but  as  it  is,  it  is  evident  beyond  all  doubt  that  this  knowledge 
has  emanated  from  the  gods  themselves,  or,  at  all  events,  has 
been  the  result  of  divine  inspiration,  even  in  those  cases  where 
man  has  been  instrumental  in  communicating  it  to  us.  In 
other  words,  if  we  must  confess  the  truth — a  marvel  surpassed 
by  nothing  in  our  daily  experience — Nature  herself,  that 
common  parent  of  all  things,  has  at  once  produced  them,  and 
has  discovered  to  us  their  properties. 

Wondrous  indeed  is  it,  that  a  Scythian1  plant  should  be 
brought  from  the  shores  of  the  Palus  Mseotis,  and  the  euphor- 
bia2 from  Mount  Atlas  and  the  regions  beyond  the  Pillars  of 
Hercules,  localities  where  the  operations  of  Nature  have  reached 
their  utmost  limit  !  That  in  another  direction,  the  plant 
britannica2*  should  be  conveyed  to  us  from  isles  of  the 
Ocean  situate  beyond  the  confines  of  the  earth  !3  That  the 
aethiopis*  should  reach  us  from  a  climate  scorched  by  the 

1  He  alludes  to  the  Glycyrrhiza  or  Scythice,  our  Liquorice,  which  is 
still  found  on  the  hanks  of  the  river  Volga.     See  B.  xxi.   c.  54,  B.  xxii. 
c.  11,  B.  xxv.  c.  43,  and  B.  xxvi.  cc.  15,87. 

2  See  B.  xxv.  c.  38.  2*  See  B.  xxv.  c.  6. 

3  "  Extra  terras."    Meaning,  the  continental  part  of  the  earth. 

4  See  c.  3  of  this  Book. 

218  PLINY'S  NATITEAL  HISTOEY.        [Book  XXVII. 

luminaries  of  heaven !  And  then,  in  addition  to  all  this,  that 
there  should  be  a  perpetual  interchange  going  on  between  all 
parts  of  the  earth,  of  productions  so  instrumental  to  the  welfare 
of  mankind !  Results,  all  of  them,  ensured  to  us  by  the  peace 
that  reigns  under  the  majestic  sway  of  the  Roman  power,  a 
peace  which  brings  in  presence  of  each  other,  not  individuals 
only,  belonging  to  lands  and  nations  far  separate,  but  moun- 
tains even,  and  heights  towering  above  the  clouds,  their  plants 
and  their  various  productions  !  That  this  great  bounteousness 
of  the  gods  may  know  no  end,  is  my  prayer,  a  bounteousness 
which  seems  to  have  granted  the  Roman  sway  as  a  second 
luminary  for  the  benefit  of  mankind. 


Eut  who,  I  say,  can  sufficiently  venerate  the  zeal  and  spirit  of 
research  displayed  by  the  ancients  ?  It  is  they  who  have  shown 
us  that  aconite  is  the  most  prompt  of  all  poisons  in  its  effects 
— so  much  so  indeed,  that  female  animals,  if  the  sexual  parts 5 
are  but  touched  with  it,  will  not  survive  a  single  day.  With 
this  poison  it  was  that  M.  Csecilius 6  accused  Calpurnius  Bestia 
of  killing  his  wives  in  their  sleep,  and  this  it  was  that  gave 
rise  to  that  fearful  peroration  of  his,  denouncing  the  murderous 
finger  of  the  accused.7  According  to  the  fables  of  mythology, 
this  plant  was  originally  produced  from  the  foam  of  the  dog 
Cerberus,  when  dragged  by  Hercules  from  the  Infernal 8  Re- 
gions ;  for  which  reason,  it  is  said,  it  is  still  so  remarkably 
abundant  in  the  vicinity  of  Heraclea  in  Pontus,  a  spot  where 
the  entrance  is  still  pointed  out  to  the  shades  below. 

And  yet,  noxious  as  it  is,  the  ancients  have  shown  us  how  to 
employ  aconite  for  the  benefit  of  mankind,  and  have  taught  us 
as  the  result  of  their  experience,  that,  taken  in  mulled  wine, 
it  neutralizes  the  venom  of  the  scorpion  :  indeed  such  is  the 
nature  of  this  deadly  plant,  that  it  kills  man,  unless  it  can  find 

*  See  B.  xxv.  c.  75. 

6  Properly  "  Caelius  " — the  same  M.  Cselius  Rufus  who  is  mentioned 
in  B.  vii.  c.  50.     See  also  B.  xxxv.  c.  46. 

7  "Hinc  ilia  atrox  peroratio  ejus  in  digitum."     Sillig  is  probably  right 
in  his  suggestion  that  the  word  "  mortiferum  "  is  wanting  at  the  end  of 
the  sentence.     Bestia  was    accused  of  having  killed  his  wives  by  the 
contact  of  aconite,  applied,  through  the  agency  of  the  finger,  to  the  secret 
parts.  b  See  B.  vi.  c.  i. 

Chap.  2.]  ACONITE.  219 

in  man  something  else  to  kill.  When  such  is  the  case,  as 
though  it  had  discovered  in  the  body  a  fit  rival  to  contend  with, 
that  substance  is  the  sole  object  of  its  attack ;  finding  another 
poison  in  the  viscera,  to  it  alone  it  confines  its  onslaught; 
and  thus,  a  truly  marvellous  thing  !  two  poisons,  each  of  them 
of  a  deadly  nature,  destroy  one  another  within  the  body,  and 
the  man  survives.  Even  more  than  this,  the  ancients  have 
handed  down  to  us  remedies  employed  by  the  animals  them- 
selves, and  have  shown  how  that  venomous  creatures  even  effect 
their  own  cure.  By  the  contact  of  aconite  the  scorpion  is 
struck  with  torpor,9  is  quite  benumbed,  assumes  a  pallid  hue, 
and  so  confesses  itself  vanquished.  When  this  is  the  case, 
white  hellebore  is  its  great  auxiliary :  the  very  touch  of  it  dis- 
pels its  torpor,  and  the  aconite  is  forced  to  yield  before  two 
foes,  its  own  enemy  10  and  the  common  n  enemy  of  all. 

Now,  after  this,  if  any  one  should  be  of  opinion  that  man 
could,  by  any  chance  or  possibility,  make  such  discoveries  as 
these,  he  must  surely  be  guilty  of  ingratitude  in  thus  appre- 
ciating the  beneficence  of  the  gods !  In  countries  frequented 
by  the  panther,  they  rub  meat  with  aconite,  and  if  one  of 
those  animals  should  but  taste  it,  its  effects  are  fatal :  indeed 
were  not  these  means  adopted,  the  country  would  soon  be  over- 
run by  them.  It  is  for  this  reason,  too,  that  some  persons 
have  given  to  hellebore  the  name  of  "  pardalianches."12  It  has 
been  well  ascertained,  however,  that  the  panther  instantaneously 
recovers  if  it  can  find  the  opportunity  of  eating  human  ordure.13 
So  far  as  these  animals  are  concerned,  who  can  entertain  a 
doubt  that  it  was  chance  only  that  first  led  them  to  this  dis- 
covery ;  and  that  as  often  as  this  happens  the  discovery  is  only 
a  mere  repetition  of  the  accident,  there  being  neither  reason 
nor  an  appreciation  of  experience  to  ensure  its  transmission 
among  them  ? 

(3.)  It  is  chance,14  yes,  it  is  chance  that  is  the  Deity  who 
has  made  to  us  these  numerous  revelations  for  our  practical 

9  See  B.  xxv.  c.  75. 

10  The  hellebore.     See  B.  xxiii.  c.  75,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  21. 

11  The  scorpion.  12  4<  Pard-strangle." 
™  See  B.  viii.  c.  41. 

14  He  seems  here,  by  implication,  to  contradict  himself,  and,  by  his  ex- 
planation, to  be  sensible  that  he  does  so.  He  would  appear  not  to  have 
known  exactly  what  his  belief  was  in  reference  to  first  causes. 

220  PLDHT'S  NATTJEAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 

benefit  ;15  always  understanding  that  under  this  name  we  mean 
Nature,  that  great  parent  and  mistress  of  all  things  :  and  this 
is  evident,  whether  we  come  to  the  conclusion,  that  these  wild 
beasts  make  the  discovery  from  day  to  day,  or  that  they  aro 
gifted  from  the  first  with  these  powers  of  perception.  Re- 
garded in  another  point  of  view,  it  really  is  a  disgrace  that 
all  animated  beings  should  have  an  exact  knowledge  of  what 
is  beneficial  to  them,  with  the  exception  of  man  ! 

The  ancients,  openly  professing  their  belief  that  there  is  no 
evil  without  some  admixture  of  good,  have  asserted  that  aconite 
is  a  remarkably  useful  ingredient  in  compositions  for  the  eyes. 
It  may  therefore  be  permitted  me,  though  I  have  hitherto 
omitted  a  description  of  the  poisonous  plants,  to  point  out  the 
characteristics  of  aconite,  if  only  that  it  may  be  the  more 
easily  detected.  Aconite 16  has  leaves  like  those  of  cyclaminos :7 
or  of  the  cucumber,  never  more  than  four  in  number,  slightly 
hairy,  and  rising  from  near  the  root.  This  root,  which  is  of 
moderate  size,  resembles  the  sea-fish  known  as  the  "  cam- 
marus,"18  a  circumstance  owing  to  which  the  plant  has  received 
the  name  of  "  cammaron  "  from  some ;  while  others,  for  the 
reason  already19  mentioned,  have  called  it  "  thelyphonon."20 
The  root  is  slightly  curved,  like  a  scorpion's  tail,  for  which 
reason  some  persons  have  given  it  the  name  of  ' 'scorpio." 
Others,  again,  have  preferred  giving  it  the  name  of  "  myoc- 
tonon,"21  from  the  fact  that  the  odour  of  it  kills  mice  at  a 
considerable  distance  even. 

This  plant  is  found  growing  upon  the  naked  rocks  known 
as  "  aconse  ;"22  and  hence  it  is,  according  to  some  authorities, 

15  "  Hoc  habet  nomen  "  is  omitted ;  for,  as  Sillig  says,  it  is  evidently  a 
gloss,  which  has  crept  into  the  text. 

16  The  ancients  no  doubt  knew  several  plants  under  the  common  name 
of  Aconitum.    The  one  here  described,  is  identified  by  Fee  with  the  Do- 
ronicum  pardalianches  of  Linnaeus,  Leopard's  bane. 

17  See  B.  xxv.  c.  67.    Fee  says  that  neither  the  leaves  of  the  Doronicum, 
nor  of  any  plant  of  the  genus  Arnica,  bear  any  resemblance  to  those  of 
the  _  Cyclamen,  or  the  cucumber.     He  remarks  also,  that  the  contact  solely 
of  it  is  not  productive  of  poisonous  effects. 

18  A  kind  of  crab.  19  At  the  beginning  of  this  Chapter. 
"  Female-bane,"  or  "  female-killer."     See  B.  xx.  c.  23. 

1  "  Mice-killer."     This  assertion  is  incorrect. 

K  So  called  from  a,  "without,"  and  KOVIQ,  "dust,"  Theophrastus 
says  that  it  received  its  name  from  the  town  of  Aconae,  in  the  vicinity  of 
which  it  grew  in  great  abundance. 

Chap.  4.]  AGEBATOtf.  221 

that  it  is  called  "  aconitum,"  there  being  not  so  much  as  dust 
even  about  it  to  conduce  to  its  nutriment.  Such  is  the  reason 
given  for  its  name  by  some  :  but  according  to  others,  it  re- 
ceives this  appellation  from  the  fact  that  it  fatally  exercises  the 
same  effects  upon  the  body  that  the  whetstone23  does  upon  the 
edge  of  iron,  being  no  sooner  employed  than  its  effects  are  felt. 

CHAP.  3.  (4.) — ^THIOPIS  :  roira  KEMEDIES. 

JEthiopis24  is  a  plant  with  leaves  resembling  those  of  phlo- 
mos,25  large,  numerous,  hairy,  and  springing  from  the  root. 
The  stem  is  square,  rough,  similar  to  that  of  arction25*  in  ap- 
pearance, and  with  numerous  axillary  concavities.  The  seed 
resembles  that  of  the  fitch,  being  white  and  twofold  ;  the  roots 
are  several  in  number,  long,  fleshy,  soft,  and  of  a  viscous  taste ; 
when  dry  they  turn  black  and  hard,  and  might  easily  be  taken 
for  horns.  In  addition  to  ^Ethiopia,  this  plant  grows  upon 
Mount  Ida  in  Troas,  and  in  Messenia.  The  roots  are  gathered 
in  autumn,  and  left  to  dry  for  some  days  in  the  sun,  to  prevent 
them  from  turning  mouldy.  Taken  in  white  wine  they  are 
curative  of  affections  of  the  uterus,  and  a  decoction  of  them 
is  administered  for  sciatica,  pleurisy,  and  eruptions  of  the 
throat.  The  kind,  however,  which  comes  from  ^Ethiopia,  is 
by  far  the  best,  and  gives  instantaneous  relief. 


Ageraton26  is  a  ferulaceous  plant,  a  couple  of  palms  in  height, 
similar  to  origanum27  in  appearance,  and  bearing  flowers  like 
balls  of  gold.  Used  as  a  fumigation,  this  plant  acts  as  a 
diuretic  ;  and  as  a  detergent  upon  the  uterus,  when  used  in  a 
sitting  bath  more  particularly.  Its  name  has  been  given  to  it, 
from  the  circumstance  that  it  keeps  a  very  long  time  without 

23  Also  called  cucovrj. 

24  Generally  identified  with  the  Salvia  argentea  of  Linnaeus,  Silver  sage, 
or  else  with  the  Salvia  JEthiopis,  Woolly  sage.     It  must  not  be  confounded 
with  the  plant  of  the  same  name  mentioned  in  B.  xxiv.  c.  102. 

25  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73. 

25*  See  c.  16  of  this  Book. 

26  "  Not  growing  old."     It  is  identified  by  Fee  and  .Desfontaines  with 
the  Achillaea  ageratum  of  Linnaeus,  Sweet  milfoil  or  Maudlin.    Littre 
gives  as  its  synonym,  the  Hypericum  origanifolium, 

27  See  B.  xx.  c.  67. 

222  PLINY'S  NATIJBAL  HISTOBT.          [Book  XXVII. 


The  aloe28  bears  a  resemblance  to  the  squill,  except  that  it  is 
larger,  and  has  more  substantial  leaves,  with  streaks  running 
obliquely.  The  stem  is  tender,  red  in  the  middle,  and  not 
unlike  that  of  the  anthericus.39  It  has  a  single  root,  which  runs 
straight  downwards,  like  a  stake  driven  into  the  ground ;  its 
smell  is  powerful,  and  it  has  a  bitter  taste.  The  most  esteemed 
aloes  are  those  imported  from  India,  but  it  grows  in  the  Asiatic 
provinces30  as  well.  This  last  kind,  however,  is  never  used, 
except  that  the  leaves  are  applied  fresh  to  wounds ;  indeed, 
these  leaves,  as  well  as  the  juice,  are  glutinous  to  a  marvellous 
degree,  and  it  is  for  this  property  that  it  is  grown  in  vessels  of 
a  conical  form,  in  the  same  way  as  the  greater  Some 
persons  make  incisions  in  the  stem  to  obtain  the  j  uice,  before 
the  seed  is  ripe,  while  others,  again,  make  them  in  the  leaves 
as  well.  Tearlike  drops  are  also  found  adhering  to  it,  which 
exude  spontaneously :  hence  it  is  that  some  recommend  that 
the  place  should  be  paved  where  it  is  grown,  to  prevent  this 
juice  from  being  absorbed. 

Some  authors  have  stated,  that  there  is  found  in  Judaea, 
beyond  Hierosolyma,  a  mineral32  aloe,  but  that  it  is  inferior  to 
the  other  kinds,  being  of  a  darker  colour  and  more  humid  than 
any  of  the  rest.  Aloes53  of  the  finest  quality  should  be 
unctuous  and  shining,  of  a  red  colour,  brittle,  compact,  like 
the  substance  of  liver,  and  easily  liquefied.  That  which  is 
hard  and  black  should  be  rejected;  the  same,  too,  when  it  is 
mixed  with  sand  or  adulterated  with  gum  and  acacia,  a  fraud 
which  may  be  easily  detected  by  the  taste. 

This  plant  is  of  an  astringent  nature,  binding,  and  slightly 
calorific.  It  is  employed  for  numerous  purposes,  -but  principally 
as  a  purgative,34  it  being  almost  the  only  one  of  all  the  medica- 

28  The  ancients  probably  included  under  this  name  several  distinct  species 
of  the  aloe.  They  were  well  acquainted,  Fee  says,  with  the  Indian  aloe, 
but  probably  not  with  that  of  Africa.  As  described  by  Pliny,  he  identifies 
it  with  the  Aloe  perfoliata  of  Linnaeus:  Desfontaines  gives  the  Aloe 
umbellata.  29  See  B.  xxi.  c.  68.  30  "Asia." 

31  See  B.  xxv.  c.  102.     The  aloe  is  still  grown  in  large  wooden  vessels, 
in  this  country,  at  least ;  but  only  as  an  ornament. 

32  He  alludes  to  the  bitumen  of  Judaea,  much  used  by  the  Egyptians  for 
the  purposes  of  embalmment. 

33  He  is  speaking  of  the  prepared  aloes  of  commerce. 

34  It  is  still  used  for  this  purpose. 

Chap.  5.]  THE   ALOE.  223 

ments  which  produce  that  effect,  that  is  at  the  same  time  a 
good  stomachic,  and  does  not  exercise  the  slightest  noxious 
influence  upon  the  stomach.  It  is  taken  in  doses  of  one 
drachma,  and,  in  cases  of  derangement  of  the  stomach,  it  is 
administered  two  or  three  times  a  da}7,  in  the  proportion  of 
one  spoonful  to  two  cyathi  of  warm  or  cold  water,  at  intervals, 
according  to  the  nature  of  the  emergency.  As  a  purgative  it 
is  mostly  taken  in  doses  of  three  drachm a3 ;  and  it  operates 
still  more  efficaciously,  if  food  is  eaten  directly  afterwards. 
Used  with  astringent  wine,  it  prevents36  the  hair  from  falling 
off,  the  head  being  rubbed  with  it  the  contrary  way  of  the 
hair,  in  the  sun.  Applied  to  the  temples  and  forehead  with 
rose  oil  and  vinegar,  or  used  as  an  infusion,  in  a  more  diluted 
form,  it  allays  head-ache.  It  is  generally  agreed  that  it  is 
remedial  for  all  diseases38  of  the  eyes,  but  more  particularly  for 
prurigo  and  scaly  eruptions  of  the  eye-lids  ;  as  also  for  marks 
and  bruises,  applied  in  combination  with  honey,  Pontic  honey 
in  particular. 

It  is  employed, also,  for  affections  of  the  tonsillary  glands  and 
gums,  for  all  ulcerations  of  the  mouth,  and  for  spitting  of 
blood,  if  not  in  excess — the  proper  dose  being  one  drachma, 
taken  in  water  or  else  vinegar.  Used  by  itself,  or  in  combination 
with  vinegar,  it  arrests  haemorrhage,  whether  proceeding  from 
wounds  or  from  other  causes.  In  addition  to  these  properties,  it 
is  extremely  efficacious  for  the  cure  of  wounds,  producing 
cicatrization  very  rapidly  :  it  is  sprinkled  also  upon  ulcerations 
of  the  male  organs,  and  is  applied  to  condylomata  and  chaps 
of  the  fundament,  either  in  common  wine,  raisin  wine,  or  by 
itself  in  a  dry  state,  according  as  a  mollifying  or  restrictive 
treatment  is  required.  It  has  the  effect,  also,  of  gently 
arresting  ha3morrhoidal  bleeding,  when  in  excess.  In  cases  of 
dysentery,  it  is  used  as  an  injection,  and  where  the  digestion 
is  imperfect  it  is  taken  shortly  after  the  evening  meal.  For 
jaundice,  it  is  administered  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  in 
water.  As  a  purgative  for  the  bowels,  it  is  taken  in  pills,  with 
boiled  honey  or  turpentine.  It  is  good  also  for  the  removal  of 
hangnails.  When  employed  in  ophthalmic  preparations,  it  is 
first  washed,  that  the  more  gravelly  portions  of  it  may  subside ; 

35  There  is  no  foundation,  Fee  says,  for  this  statement. 

36  It  would  appear  that  it  is  still    employed  in  India  for  this  purpose, 
but  it  is  no  longer  used  in  Europe. 

224  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOHT.         [Book  XXVII. 

or  else  it  is  put  over  the  fire  in  a  pipkin,  and  stirred  with  a 
feather  from  time  to  time,  that  the  whole  of  it  may  be  equally 

CHAP.  6. — ALCEA  :    ONE  EEMEDY. 

Aleea37  is  a  plant  with  leaves,  resembling  those  of  vervain,38 
known  also  as  "  peris  tereon,"  some  three  or  four  stems 
covered  with  leaves,  a  flower  like  that  of  the  rose,  and  white 
roots,  at  most  six  in  number,  a  cubit  in  length,  and  running 
obliquely.  It  grows  in  a  soil  that  is  rich  without  being  dry. 
The  root  is  given  in  wine  or  water,  for  dysentery,  diarrhoea, 
ruptures,  and  convulsions. 


The  alypon39  has  a  small  stem,  with  a  soft  head,  and  is  not 
unlike  beet  in  appearance.  It  has  an  acrid,  viscous  taste, 
extremely  pungent  and  burning.  Taken  in  hydromel,  with 
a  little  salt,  it  acts  as  a  purgative.  The  smallest  dose  is  two 
drachmae,  a  moderate  dose,  four,  and  the  largest,  six.  When 
used  as  a  purgative,  it  is  taken  in  chicken  broth. 



Alsine,40  a  plant  known  as  "myosoton  "41  to  some,  grows  in  the 
woods,  to  which  fact  it  is  indebted  for  its  name  of  "  alsine."42 
It  begins  to  make  its  appearance  at  mid- winter,  and  withers  in 
the  middle  of  summer.  When  it  first  puts  forth,  the  leaves 
bear  a  strong  resemblance  to  the  ears  of  mice.  We  shall  have 

37  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Malva  alcea  of  Linnaeus,  the  Vervain 
mallow,  an  emollient  and,  comparatively,  inert  plant.  Littre  gives  as 
its  synonym  the  Malope  malacho'ides,  Marsh  mallow.  Sibthorp  identifies 
it  with  the  Hibiscus  trionum,  and  Anguillara  with  the  Althaea  cannabina 
of  Linnaeus.  It  is  probably  the  same  plant  as  the  Alcima,  mentioned  several 
times  in  B.  xxvi.  38  See  B.  xxv.  c.  59. 

39  Identified  with  the  Globularia  alypum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Three-toothed 
leaf  Globularia,  or  Turbith. 

40  Identified  by  Sprengel  with  the  Cerastium  aquaticum,  and  by  other 
authorities  with  the  Alsine  media  of  Linnaeus,  the  Common  chickweed. 
Desfontaines  suggests  the  Stellaria  nemorum,  the  Broadleaved  stitchwort, 
but  Fee  prefers  the  Parietaria  Cretica  of  Linnaeus,  Cretan  pellitory,  as  its 
synonym.  41  "  Mouse-ear." 

42  From  the  Greek  a\<70£,  a  "grove." 

Chap.  10.]  ANDBOS^MOtf.  225 

occasion,43  however,  to  speak  of  another  plant,  which  may, 
with  much  more  justice,  be  called  "  myosotis."  As  for  alsine,  it 
would  be  the  same  thing  as  helxine,44  were  it  not  that  it  is  smaller 
and  not  so  hairy.  It  grows  in45  gardens,  and  upon  walls  more 
particularly  :  when  rubbed,  it  emits  a  smell  like  that  of  cucum- 
ber. It  is  used  for  abscesses,  inflammations,  and  all  those  pur- 
poses for  which  helxine  is  employed  ;  its  properties,  however, 
are  not  so  active.  It  is  applied  topically,  also,  to  defluxions  of 
the  eyes,  and  to  sores  upon  the  generative  organs,  and  ulcera- 
tions,  with  barley  meal.  The  juice  is  used  as  an  injection  for 
the  ears. 


The  androsaces46  is  a  white  plant,  bitter,  without  leaves,  and 
bearing  arms  surmounted  with  follicules,  containing  the  seed. 
It  grows  in  the  maritime  parts  of  Syria,  more  particularly. 
This  plant  is  administered  for  dropsy,  in  doses  of  two  drachmae, 
pounded  or  boiled,  in  either  water,  wine,  or  vinegar :  it  acts 
most  powerfully  as  a  diuretic.  It  is  used  also  for  gout,  either 
taken  internally  or  used  as  a  liniment.  The  seed  is  possessed 
of  similar  properties. 


Androsaemon47  or,  as  some  persons  call  it,  "  ascyron,"  is  not 
unlike  hypericon,  a  plant  of  which  we  have  spoken  already  i48 
the  stems,  however,  are  larger,  redder,  and  lie  more  closely 
together.  The  leaves  are  of  a  white  colour,  and  like  those  of 
rue  in  shape ;  the  seed  resembles  that  of  the  black  poppy,  amd 
the  upper  branches,  when  bruised,  emit  a  red  juice  the  colour 
of  blood  :  these  branches  have  also  a  resinous  smell. 

This  plant  grows  in  vineyards,  and  it  is  usually  in  the  middle 

43  In  c.  80  of  this  Book. 

44  The  Parietaria  officinalis ;  see  B.  xxii.  c.  19. 

45  He  has  previously  stated  that  it  grows  in  the  woods.     The  fact  is, 
M.  Fraas  says,  that  it  grows  equally  upon  garden  walls,  heaps  of  rubbish, 
in  plains,  upon  shady  rocks,  and  upon  mountains,  below  an  elevation  of 
1500  feet. 

46  Generally  supposed  not  to  be  a  vegetable  production,  but  a  Madrepore. 
Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Madrepora  acetabulum  of  Linnaeus. 

47  "  Man's  blood."     Identified  by  Sprengel  with  the  Hypericum  monta- 
num,  and  by  Sibthorp  and  Fee  with  the  Hypericum  perforatum,  of  Lin- 
naeus, Perforated  tutsan  or  St.  John's  wort.         48  See  B.  xxvi.  cc.  53,  54, 

VOL.  V.  Q 

226  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVII. 

of  autumn  that  it  is  taken  up  and  hung  to  dry.  Used  as  a 
purgative,  it  is  bruised  with  the  seed,  and  taken  in  the  morn- 
ing or  just  after  the  evening  meal,  in  doses  of  two  drachmae, 
in  hydromel,  wine,  or  pure  water,  the  draught  amounting  to 
one  sextarius  in  all.  It  carries  off  bile,  and  is  particularly 
good  for  sciatica ;  but  in  this  last  case,  caper  root  must  be 
taken  with  resin  the  day  after,  the  dose  being  one  drachma, 
to  be  repeated  every  four  days  :  after  being  purged,  it  is  the 
practice  for  the  patient,  if  in  robust  health,  to  take  wine,  but 
if  in  a  weak  state  of  body,  water.  It  is  employed  topically, 
also,  for  gout,  burns,  and  wounds,  as  it  tends  to  arrest  the  flow 
of  blood. 


Ambrosia  is  a  vague  name,  which  has  fluctuated  between 
various  plants :  there  is  one,49  however,  which  has  been  more 
particularly  designated  by  this  appellation,  a  branchy,  shrub- 
like  plant,  with  a  thin  stem,  some  three  palms  in  height ;  the 
root  of  it  is  one  third  shorter,  and  the  leaves,  towards  the  lower 
part  of  the  stem,  resemble  those  of  rue.  Its  diminutive 
branches  bear  a  seed  which  hangs  down  in  clusters,  and  has  a 
vinous  smell :  hence  it  is  that  by  some  persons  the  plant  is 
called  "  botrys,"50  while  to  others  it  is  known  as  "  artemisia." 
The  people  of  Cappadocia  use  it  for  garlands.  It  is  employed 
in  medicine  as  a  resolvent. 


The  anonis,51  by  some  called  "  ononis"  in  preference,  is  a 
branchy  plant,  and  similar  to  fenugreek  in  appearance,  except 
that  it  is  more  shrub-like  and  more  hairy.  It  has  an  agreeable 
smell,  and  becomes  prickly  after  spring.  It  is  pickled  in  brine 
for  eating.  Applied  fresh  to  ulcers,  it  cauterizes  the  margins  of 
them.  For  the  cure  of  tooth-ache,  the  root  is  boiled  in  oxy- 
crate :  taken  in  drink,  with  honey,  the  root  expels  urinary  calculi. 
For  epilepsy,  it  is  administered  in  oxyrnel,  boiled  down  to  one 


The    anagyros,  known  to   some  by  the  name  of  "  aco- 

19  Identified  with  the  Ambrosia  maritima  of  Linnaeus,  the  Sea  ambrosia. 
50  The  "cluster"  plant.     It  still  figures  in  the  Materia  Medica.     See 
B.  xxv.  c.  36,  and  c.  31  of  this  Book.  51  See  B.  xxi.  c.  58. 

Chap.  15.]  APABHTE.  227 

pon,"52  is  a  shrub-like  plant,  with  an  offensive  smell,  and  a 
blossom  like  that  of  the  cabbage.  The  seed  grows  in  small 
hornlike  pods  of  considerable  length,  and  resembles  a  kidney 
in  shape ;  it  hardens  about  the  time  of  harvest.  The  leaves  of 
this  plant  are  applied  to  gatherings,  and  are  attached  to  the 
person  in  cases  of  difficult  parturition,  care  being  taken  to 
remove  them  the  moment  after  delivery.  In  cases  where  the 
extraction  of  the  dead  foetus  is  attended  with  difficulty,  or  where 
the  after-birth  or  catamenia  are  retarded,  the  leaves  are  taken,  in 
doses  of  one  drachma,  in  raisin  wine.  The  leaves  are  adminis- 
tered in  the  same  manner  for  asthma :  they  are  prescribed  also 
in  old  wine,  for  injuries  inflicted  by  the  phalangium.63  The 
root  is  employed  medicinally  as  a  resolvent  and  maturative : 
the  seed,  chewed,  acts  as  an  emetic. 


The  anonymos,54  through  not  having  a  name,  has  at  last 
found  one.65  It  is  brought  from  Scythia,  and  has  been  highly 
extolled  by  Hicesius,  a  physician  of  no  small  repute,  as  also 
by  Aristogiton.  Eruisedin  water  and  applied,  it  is  remarkably 
useful  for  wounds,  and  taken  in  drink  it  is  good  for  blows  upon 
the  chest  or  mamillae,  as  also  for  spitting  of  blood :  it  has 
been  thought,  too,  that  it  might  be  advantageously  taken  in  a 
potion  for  wounds.  I  am  of  opinion  that  the  additional  state- 
ment, to  the  effect  that,  burnt  fresh,  it  acts  as  a  solder  to  iron 
or  copper,  is  wholly  fabulous. 


Aparine,56  otherwise  called  "  omphalocarpos"57  or  "  philan- 
thropes,JJ58  is  a  ramose,  hairy,  plant,  with  five  or  six  leaves  at 
regular  intervals,  arranged  circularly  around  the  branches. 

52  "  Dispelling  lassitude."  Identified  with  the  Anagyris  fcetida  of  Lin- 
naeus, the  Stinking  bean  trefoil.  It  is  a  purgative,  and  its  seeds  are  emetic. 

93  See  B.  viii.  c.  41,  B.  x.  c.  95,  B.  xi.  cc.  24,  23. 

5i  It  has  not  been  identified,  Pliny  being  the  only  author  that  has  men- 
tioned it.  The  Ajuga  pyraraidalis  of  Linnaeus,  and  the  Ajuga  iva  have 
been  suggested.  55  "Anonymos,"  or  "nameless." 

56  See  B.  xviii.  c.  44,  and  B.  xxiv.  c.  116.  It  is  identified  with  the  Galium 
Aparine  of   Linna3us,   Ladies*  bedstraw,  Cleavers,  goosegrass,  hariff,  or 
catchweed.     Its  medicinal  properties  are  next  to  nothing. 

57  "Navel-fruit."  »  « Man-loving. "    See  B.  xxiv.  c.  116. 

228  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 

The  seed  is  round,  hard,  concave,  and  of  a  sweetish  taste.  It 
grows  in  cornfields,  gardens,  and  meadows,  and,  by  the  aid  of 
its  prickly  points,  adheres  to  the  clothes.  The  seed  is  em- 
ployed to  neutralize  the  venom  of  serpents,  being  taken  in 
doses  of  one  drachma,  in  wine :  it  is  useful  also  for  the  bite  of 
the  phalangium.59  The  leaves,  applied  topically,  arrest  hae- 
morrhage from  wounds.  The  juice  is  used  as  an  injection  for 
the  ears. 


The  arction60  is  by  some  called  "  arcturum"  in  preference  : 
the  leaves  of  it  are  like  those  of  verbascum,61  except  that  they 
are  more  hairy ;  the  stem  is  long  and  soft,  and  the  seed  resem- 
bles that  of  cummin.  It  grows  in  rocky  localities,  and  has  a 
tender  root,  white  and  sweet.  A  decoction  of  it  is  made  with 
wine  for  tooth-ache,  being  retained  for  that  purpose  in  the 
mouth.  The  plant  is  taken  in  drink  for  sciatica  and  strangury, 
and  is  applied  with  wine  to  burns  and  chilblains,  which  are 
fomented  also  with  the  root  and  seed  bruised  in  wine. 


Some  persons  call  the  asplenon62  by  the  name  of  "  hemio- 
nion."63  It  has  numerous  leaves,  a  third  of  a  foot  in  length, 
and  a  slimy  root,  pierced  with  holes  like  that  of  fern,  white, 
and  hairy.  It  is  destitute  of  stem,  flower,  and  seed,64  and  is 
found  growing  upon  rocks  or  sheltered  damp  walls.  The  most 
approved  kind  is  that  of  Crete.  A  decoction  of  the  leaves 
in  vinegar,  taken  in  drink  for  a  period  of  thirty  days,  will 

50  See  JSote  53  above. 

60  Brotero  and  Linnaeus  identify  it  with  the  Arctium  lappa  of  Linnaeus, 
the  Burdock  or  clot-burr :  Sibthorp  with  the  Conyza  Candida,  the  White 
fleabane :  others,  again,  with  the  Celsia  arcturus  of  Linnaeus,  and  Sprengel 
with  the  Verbascum  ferrugineum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Ferruginous  mullein ; 
between  which  two  last,  Fee  is  unable  to  decide. 

61  See  B.  xxv.  c.  73. 

62  So  called  from  its  supposed  property  of  consuming  the  spleen.     It  is 
generally  identified  with  the  Asplenium  ceterach  of  Linnaeus,  Spleenwort, 
or  miltwaste.     The  Asplenium  hemionitis  of  Linnaeus,  Mule's  fern,  and 
the  Asplenium  scolopendrium  of  Linnaeus,  Hart's  tongue,  have  also  been 
suggested ;  but  Fee  prefers  the  first-named  plant. 

53  The  "  mule's  plant."     These  animals  were  said  to  be  very  fond  of  it. 
64  This  is  incorrect :  the  Ceterach  has  a  large  quantity  of  seed,   but  it 
is  concealed  beneath  a  kind  of  downy  substance. 

Chap.  20.]  ASCYRON.  229 

consume  the  spleen,  it  is  said,  the  leaves  being  applied  simul- 
taneously. The  leaves  give  relief  also  in  hiccup.  This  plant 
should  never  be  given  to  females,  being  productive  of  sterility. 


The  asclepias65  has  leaves  like  those  of  ivy,66  long  branches, 
and  numerous  roots,  thin,  and  odoriferous.  The  flower  has  a 
strong  offensive  smell,  and  the  seed  is  like  that  of  securidaca:67 
it  is  found  growing  in  mountainous  districts.  The  roots  are 
used  for  the  cure  of  griping  pains  in  the  bowels,  and  of 
stings  inflicted  by  serpents,  either  taken  in  drink  or  applied 


The  aster68  is  called  "  bubonion"  by  some,  from  the  circum- 
stance of  its  being  a  sovereign  remedy  for  diseases  of  the 
groin.  It  has  a  diminutive  stem  with  oblong  leaves,  two  or 
three  in  number  ;  and  at  the  summit  it  is  surmounted  with  small 
radiated  heads,  like  stars.  This  plant  is  taken  also  in  drink 
as  an  antidote  to  the  venom  of  serpents :  but  if  required  for 
the  cure  of  inguinal  complaints,  it  is  recommended  that  it 
should  be  gathered  with  the  left  hand,  and  attached  to  the 
body  near  the  girdle.  It  is  of  great  service  also,  worn  as  an 
amulet,  for  sciatica. 


Ascyron69  and  ascyroides  are  plants  similar  to  one  another, 
and  to  hypericon70  as  well,  except  that  the  plant  known  as 

65  Possibly  the  Asclepias  vincetoxicum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Common  white- 
flower  swallow-wort ;   though  Fee  considers  it  somewhat  doubtful. 

66  Those  of  Swallow-wort  have  no  such  resemblance. 

67  See  B.  xviii.  c.  44. 

68  Desfontaines  suggests  the  Inula  bubonium,  but  Fee  adopts  the  opinion 
of  Jussieu  and  Sprengel,  that  it  is  the  Aster  araellus  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Italian  starwort.     It  is  probably  the  same  plant  as  the  Inguinalis,  men- 
tioned in  B.  xx vi.  c.  59. 

69  Identified  by  Fee  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Hypericum  androssemum 
of  Linnaeus,  the  Common  tutsan,  or  Park  leaves.      Littre  gives  as  the 
synonym  the  Hypericum  perforatum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Perforated  St.  John's 
wort ;  which  last  is  also  preferred  by  Sprengel.     Fuchsius  and  Mathioli 
think  that  it  is  the  Hypericum  montanum  of  Linnaeus. 

70  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  53. 

230  PLINY'S  NATTTBAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 

"  ascyroides"71  has  larger  branches,  ferulaceous,  red  all  over, 
and  bearing  small  yellow  heads.  The  seed,  enclosed  in  small 
calyces,  is  diminutive,  black,  and  resinous.  The  tops  of  the 
branches,  when  bruised,  stain  like  blood;  for  which  reason 
some  persons  have  given  it  the  name  of  "  androsaemon."r2  The 
seed  is  used  for  the  cure  of  sciatica,  being  taken  in  doses  of 
two  drachmae,  in  one  sextarius  of  hydromel.  It  relaxes  the 
bowels,  and  carries  off  bile :  it  is  applied  also  to  burns. 


The  aphaca73  has  remarkably  diminutive  leaves,  and  is 
but  little  taller  than  the  lentil.  The  pods  are  of  a  larger 
size,  and  enclose  some  three  or  four  seeds,  of  a  darker  colour, 
moister,  and  more  diminutive  than  those  of  the  lentil :  it  grows 
in  cultivated  fields.  It  is  naturally  more  astringent  than  the 
lentil,  but  in  other  respects  is  applied  to  much  the  same  pur- 
poses. The  seed,  used  in  a  decoction,  arrests  fluxes  of  the 
stomach  arid  bowels. 


I  have  not  found  it  stated  by  authors  what  kind  of  plant 
alcibium74  is  ;  but  the  root,  I  find,  and  the  leaves,  are  pounded 
and  employed,  both  externally  and  internally,  for  injuries  in- 
flicted by  serpents.  When  the  leaves  are  used,  a  handful  of 
them  is  bruised  in  three  cyathi  of  undiluted  wine :  the  root 
is  employed  in  the  proportion  of  three  drachmae  to  the  same 
quantity  of  wine. 


Alectoroslophos,75  or  crista,75*  as  we  call  it,  has  numerous 

71  It  is  considered  to  be  identical  with  the  Ascyron. 

72  "  Man's  blood."     See  c.  10  of  this  Book. 

73  Different  probably  from  the  plant  of  a  similar  name  mentioned  in  B.  xxi. 
cc.  52,  59.     Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Vetch,  mentioned  in  B.  xviii.  c.  37. 
Littre  gives  as  its  synonym  the  Vicia  cracca  of  Linnaeus,  the  Tufted  vetch, 
and  Desfontaines  the  Lathyrus  aphaca,  the  Yellow  vetchling,  or  bindweed. 

74  Fee  considers  it  to  be  the  same  plant  as  the  Anchusa  or  Archebion, 
mentioned  in  B.  xxii.  c.  25.     Desfontaines  identifies  the  Alcibium  with 
the  Echium  rubrum  of   Linnaaus.     Holland  observes  here  that  Pliny 
"  hath  here  forgotten  himself/' 

75  "  Cock's  comb."    The  Rhinanthus  crista  galli  of  Linnaeus,  Yellow 
rattle,  or  cock's  comb.  «•  "  Crest "  or  "  Comb." 

Chap.  24.]  ALUM.  231 

leaves  resembling,  a  cock's  comb,  a  thin  stem,  and  a  black  seed 
enclosed  in  pods.  Boiled  with  broken  beans  and  honey,  it  is 
useful  for  cough  and  for  films  upon  the  eyes.  The  seed,  too,  is 
sprinkled  whole  into  the  eyes,  and  so  far  is  it  from  injuring 
them,  that  it  attracts  and  collects  the  filmy  matter.  When 
thus  used,  it  changes  colour,  and  from  black  becomes  white, 
gradually  swells,  and  comes  out  of  itself. 

CHAP.    24.    (6.) ALUM,    ALSO    CALLED    SYMPHYTON    PETR.EON  : 


The  plant  which  we  call  "alum,"78  and  which  is  known  to  the 
Greeks  as  "  symphyton77  petrseon,"  is  similar  to  cunila  bubula78 
in  appearance,  having  a  diminutive  leaf  and  three  or  four 
branches  springing  from  the  root,  with  tops  like  those  of  thyme. 
It  is  a  ligneous  plant,  odoriferous,  of  a  sweet  flavour,  and  pro- 
vocative of  saliva :  the  root  of  it  is  long  and  red.  It  grows 
upon  rocks,  to  which  circumstance  it  is  indebted  for  its  addi- 
tional name  of  "  petra3on ;"  and  is  extremely  useful79  for  affec- 
tions of  the  sides  and  kidneys,  griping  pains  in  the  bowels, 
diseases  of  the  chest  and  lungs,  spitting  of  blood,  and  eruptions 
of  the  fauces.  The  root  is  pounded  and  taken  in  drink,  or  else 
a  decoction  is  made  of  it  in  wine  ;  sometimes,  also,  it  is  ap- 
plied externally.  Chewed,  it  allays  thirst,  and  is  particularly 
refreshing  to  the  pulmonary  organs.  It  is  employed  topically 
for  sprains  and  contusions,  and  has  a  soothing  effect  upon  the 

Cooked  upon  hot  ashes,  with  the  follicules  removed,  and 
then  beaten  up  with  nine  peppercorns  and  taken  in  water,  it 
acts  astringently  upon  the  bowels.  For  the  cure  of  wounds  it 

76  Identified  by  Desfontaines  with  the  Symphytura  officinale,  or  Great 
comfrey.     Fee,  however,  considers  it  to  be  the  Coris  Monspeliensis  of  Lin- 
naeus, Montpellier  coris.    Lobel  identifies  it  with  the  Prunella  vulgaris  of 
Linnaeus,  Common  self-heal,  and  Cassalpinus  with  the  Hyssopus  officinalis 
of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xxvi.  c.  26. 

77  Fee  reiterates  his  assertion  here  that  this  "  rock  "  symphytum  is  a 
totally  different  plant  from  the  Symphytum  officinale,  or  Comfrey,  though 
they  appear  to  have  heen  generally  considered  as  identical  by  Scribonius 
Largus,  Plinius  Valerianus,  Apuleius,  and  other  writers. 

7»  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  26. 

79  This  account  of  its  medicinal  properties  applies  properly  to  the  Sym- 
phytum officinale,  or  Great  comfrey,  a  plant  which  would  appear  to  have 
been  confounded  by  Pliny  with  the  Alum,  if  Fee  is  right  in  his  conjecture. 

232  PLINY'S  NATTJBAL  HISTOET.        [Book  XXVII. 

is  remarkably  efficacious,  being  possessed  of  agglutinating80 
properties  to  such  a  remarkable  degree  as  to  solder  pieces  of 
meat  together  with  which  it  is  boiled ;  to  which,  in  fact,  it  is 
indebted  for  its  Greek  name.81  It  is  used  also  for  the  cure  of 
fractured  bones. 


Red  sea- weed82  is  useful  as  an  application  for  the  sting  of  the 

CHAP.  26. ACT^lA  :    ONE  REMEDY. 

Actaea83  has  leaves  with  a  powerful  smell,  rough  knotted 
stems,  a  black  seed  like  that  of  ivy,  and  soft  berries.  It 
grows  in  umbrageous,  rugged,  watery  localities  ;  and  is  used, 
in  doses  of  one  full  acetabulum,  for  female  complaints. 


Ampelos  agria,  or  wild  vine,  is  the  name  of  a  plant  with 
leaves  of  an  ashy  colour,  as  already84  stated  in  our  description 
of  the  cultivated  plants,  and  long,  tough  twigs  of  a  red  hue, 
like  that  of  the  flower  which  we  have  mentioned,85  when  speak- 
ing of  violets,  under  the  name  of  "  flame  of  Jove."  It  bears 
a  seed  which  resembles  the  grains  of  the  pomegranate.  The 
root,  boiled  in  three  cyathi  of  water,  with  the  addition  of  two 
cyathi  of  'Coan  wine,  is  slightly  laxative  to  the  bowels,  and  is 
consequently  given  for  dropsy.  It  is  curative  also  of  uterine 
affections,  and  of  spots  upon  the  face  in  females.  It  is  found 
a  good  plan  for  patients  afflicted  with  sciatica  to  use  the  juice 
of  this  plant,  bruised,  applied  topically,  with  the  leaves. 



There  are  numerous  kinds  of  absinthium ;  the  Santonic,86  for 

80  Hence  its  Latin  name  "consolida,"  and  its  French  name  "consoude." 
Fee  says  that  Comfrey  still  figures  in  the  French  Materia  Medica,  and  that 
the  lower  classes  use  it  in  most  of  the  cases  mentioned  by  Pliny  ;  he  states 
also,  that  it  is  destitute  of  energetic  properties,  in  a  medicinal  point  of  view. 

81  2u/i0vroi>,  "  consolidating." 

82  See  B.  xiii.  c.  48,  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  66. 

83  The  Actaea  spicata  of  Linnaeus,  Herb-christopher  or  bane-berries,  is 
mentioned  by  Desfontaines ;  but  Fee  is  inclined  to  identify  it  with  the 
Sambucus  ebulus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Dwarf  elder,  wall- wort,  or  dane-wort. 

84  See  B.  xxiii.  c,  14.  85  In  B.  xxi.  cc.  33,  38. 
86  The  Artemisia  Santonica  of  Linnaeus,  Tartarian  southernwood. 

Chap.  28.]  ABSINTHIUM.  233 

instance,  so  called  from  a  city  in  Gaul,  and  the  Pontic,87  which 
comes  from  Pontus,  where  the  cattle  are  fattened  upon  it — a 
diet  which  causes  them  to  be  destitute  of  gall.88  The  Pontic 
wormwood,  we  may  remark,  is  of  the  finest  quality,  superior  to 
that  of  Italy,89  and  much  more  bitter ;  the  pith,  however,  of  the 
Pontic  wormwood  is  sweet.  As  to  its  general  utility,  a  plant 
so  commonly  found  and  applied  to  such  numerous  uses,  people 
are  universally  agreed ;  but  with  the  Romans  more  particularly 
it  has  been  always  held  in  the  highest  esteem,  from  the  fact  of 
its  being  employed  in  their  religious  ceremonials.  Thus,  for 
instance,  upon  the  Latin90  Festival,  it  is  the  custom  to  have  a 
race  of  four-horsed  chariots  in  the  Capital,  and  for  the  conqueror 
to  be  presented  with  a  draught  of  wormwood ;  from  the  circum- 
stance, no  doubt,  that  our  forefathers  were  of  opinion  that  good 
health  was  the  most  valuable  reward  they  could  bestow  upon 
his  skill. 

This  plant  is  very  strengthening  to  the  stomach,  and  hence 
it  is  that  wines  are  flavoured  with  it,  as  already91  stated.  A 
decoction  of  it  in  water  is  also  taken,  the  following  being 
the  method  employed  in  preparing  it.  Six  drachmae  of  the 
leaves  are  boiled,  with  the  branches,  in  three  sextarii  of  rain 
water,  and  the  preparation  is  then  left  to  cool  in  the  open  air  a 
day  and  a  night.  Salt,  too,  should  be  added  to  it.  When  old,  it 
is  utterly  useless.  A  dilution  of  wormwood  steeped  in  water 
is  also  used,  such  being  the  name92  given  to  this  method  of 
preparing  it.  This  dilution  is  made  by  leaving  the  vessel 
covered  up  for  three  days,  any  kind  of  water  being  used. 
Pounded  wormwood  is  but  rarely  employed,  and  the  same 
with  the  extracted  juice  of  the  seed.93  In  cases,  however, 
where  it  is  extracted,  the  seed  is  subjected  to  pressure  as  soon 
as  it  begins  to  swell,  after  which  it  is  soaked  for  three  days 
in  water,  if  used  fresh,  and  seven,  if  dry.  It  is  then  boiled 
in  a  copper  vessel,  in  the  proportion  of  ten  heminae  to  forty- 
five  sextarii  of  water,  after  which  it  is  strained  off  and  boiled 

87  The  Artemisia  Pontica  of  Linnaeus,  Little  wormwood,  or  Eoman 
wormwood.  88  See  B.  xi.  c.  75. 

89  The  Artemisia  absinthium  of  Linnaeus,  Common  wormwood. 

90  Upon  which  occasion  a  sacrifice  was  offered  on  the  Alban  Mount. 
See  further  as  to  this  Festival,  in  B.  iii.  c.  2. 

91  In  B.  xiv.  c.  19.    Wine  of  wormwood  is  still  used  medicinally. 

92  "Dilutum."     An  infusion. 

99  It  contains  a  small  quantity  of  essential  oil. 


gently  to  the  consistency  of  honey,  in  the  same  way  as  the  juice 
is  extracted  from  the  smaller  centaury.  The  juice,  however, 
of  wormwood,  thus  extracted,  is  bad  for  the  head  and  stomach  ; 
whereas  the  decoction,  on  the  other  hand,  is  wholesome  in  the 
highest  degree,  as  it  acts  astringently  upon  the  stomach,  carries 
off  bile,  is  a  powerful  diuretic,  has  a  soothing  effect  upon  the 
bowels,  and  assuages  pains  in  the  intestines.  With  the  addi- 
tion of  sile,94  Gallic  nard,  and  a  little  vinegar,  it  dispels  nausea 
and  flatulency,  and  expels  intestinal  worms.  It  removes 
qualmishness,  promotes  the  digestion,  and,  with  the  addition 
of  rue,  pepper,  and  salt,  disperses  crudities  of  the  stomach. 

The  ancients  were  in  the  habit  of  giving  wormwood  as  a 
purgative,  the  dose  being  six  drachmas  of  the  seed  with  three 
of  salt  and  one  cyathus  of  honey,  in  one  sextarius  of  sea  water 
kept  for  some  time.  This  preparation,  however,  is  rendered 
more  efficacious  by  doubling  the  proportion  of  salt ;  the  seed, 
too,  must  be  bruised  with  the  greatest  care,  as  there  is  con- 
siderable difficulty  in  pounding  it.  Some  authorities  have 
prescribed  the  dose  above  mentioned  to  be  given  in  polenta,95 
with  the  addition  of  pennyroyal;  while  others  recommend 
the  leaves  to  be  given  to  children  in  a  dried  fig,  to  disguise 
their  bitterness.  Taken  with  iris,96  wormwood  acts  as.  a 
detergent  upon  the  thoracic  organs :  for  jaundice  it  is  used 
raw,  with  parsley  or  adiantum.97  In  cases  of  flatulency,  it  is 
sipped  every  now  and  then,  warmed  in  water ;  for  liver  com- 
plaints it  is  taken  with  Gallic  nard,  and  for  diseases  of  the 
spleen,  with  vinegar,  pap,98  or  figs.  Taken  in  vinegar  it  neu- 
tralizes the  bad  effects  of  fungi  and  of  viscus  :"  in  wine  it  is 
an  antidote  to  the  poison  of  hemlock,  and  to  the  bite  of  the 
shrew-mouse,  and  is  curative  of  wounds  inflicted  by  the  sea- 
dragon1  and  the  scorpion.  It  contributes  also  very  greatly  to 
the  improvement  of  the  sight,  and  is  used  as  an  external  appli- 
cation, with  raisin  wine,  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  and  with 
honey,  for  bruises. 

94  See  B.  xx.  c.  18.  95  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

96  See  B.  xxi.  c.  19.  97  See  B.  xxii.  c.  30. 

98  "  Puls."  See  B.  xviii.  c.  19. 

99  From  a  passage  in  Scribonius  Largus,  c.  191,  it  has  been  concluded 
that  by  the  word  "  YISCO,"  he  means  the  juice  of  the  Ixias  or  Chamceleon, 
mentioned  in  B.  xxii.  c.  21. 

1  See  B.  ix.  c.  43,  and  B.  xxxii.  c.  53. 

Chap.  29.]  ABSINTHIUM   MAEINDM.  235 

The  steam  of  a  decoction  of  wormwood  is  curative  of  affec- 
tions of  the  ears ;  and  when  they  are  attacked  with  running 
sores,  a  liniment  of  wormwood  bruised  with  honey  is  applied. 
Three  or  four  sprigs  of  wormwood,  with  one  root  of  Gallic 
nard,  taken  in  six  cyathi  of  water,  act  as  a  diuretic  and  as 
an  emmenagogue ;  indeed,  if  taken  with  honey,  or  employed 
as  a  pessary  with  wool,  it  has  especial  virtues  as  an  emmena- 
gogue. In  combination  with  honey  and  nitre  it  is  useful  for 
quinzy,  and  an  infusion  of  it  in  water  is  good  for  epinyctis. 
A  topical  application  is  made  of  it  for  recent  wounds,  provided 
always  they  have  not  been  touched  with  water :  it  is  em- 
ployed also  for  ulcers  upon  the  head.  In  combination  with 
Cyprian  wax  or  figs,  it  is  highly  recommended  as  a  plaster  for 
the  iliac  regions :  it  is  curative  also  of  prurigo,  but  it  must 
never  be  administered  in  fevers.  Taken  in  drink,  it  is  a  pre- 
ventive of  sea  sickness;  and,  worn  attached  to  the  body, 
beneath  an  apron,  it  arrests  inguinal  swellings.  The  smell  of 
it2  induces  sleep,  a  similar  effect  being  produced  by  placing 
it  under  the  pillow  unknown  to  the  party.  Kept  among 
clothes  it  preserves  them  from  worms,  and  used  as  a  liniment, 
with  oil,  or  burnt  as  a  fumigation,  it  has  the  effect  of  driving 
away  gnats. 

Writing  ink,  mixed  with  an  infusion  of  wormwood,  effectually 
protects  the  writings  from  the  attacks  of  mice.  Ashes  of 
wormwood,  mixed  with  rose  unguent,  stain  the  hair  black. 


There  is  a  sea  wormwood3  also,  known  as  "  seriphum"  by 
some,  the  most  esteemed  being  that  of  Taposiris  in  Egypt. 
Those  initiated  in  the  mysteries  of  Isis  carry  a  branch  of  it  in 
the  hand.  It  has  a  narrower  leaf  than  the  preceding  plant, 
and  is  not  so  bitter ;  it  is  injurious  to  the  stomach,  has  a 
laxative  effect  upon  the  bowels,  and  expels  intestinal  worms. 
It  is  taken  in  drink  with  oil  and  salt ;  or  else  an  infusion  of  it 
is  taken  in  a  pottage  made  of  meal  of  three -month  wheat. 
When  employed  as  a  decoction,  a  handful  is  used  to  one  sexta- 
rius  of  water,  the  mixture  being  boiled  down  to  one  half. 

2  This,  Fee  observes,  is  not  the  case. 

3  The  Artemisia  maritima  of  Linnaeus,  Sea  wormwood :  see  B.  xxxii. 
c,  31. 

236  PLINY'S  NATTJBAL  HISTOBY.        [Book  XXVII. 



The  Greeks  give  to  the  ballotes4  the  other  name  of  "  melam- 
prasion,"  meaning  "  black  leek."5  It  is  a  branchy  plant,  with 
black  angular  stems,  covered  with  hairy  leaves,  larger  and  darker 
than  those  of  the  leek,  6and  possessed  of  a  powerful  smell.  The 
leaves,  bruised  and  applied  with  salt,  are  highly  efficacious  for 
bites  inflicted  by  dogs  :  cooked  upon  hot  ashes  and  applied  in 
a  cabbage  leaf,  they  are  curative  of  condylomata.  Mixed  with 
honey,  this  plant  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  sordid  ulcers. 


Botrys7  is  a  shrublike  plant,  which  has  small  yellow 
branches,  with  the  seed  growing  all  round  them,  and  leaves 
resembling8  those  of  endive.  It  is  found  upon  the  banks  of 
running  streams,  and  is  used  for  the  cure  of  hardness  of 
breathing.  The  people  of  Cappadocia  call  this  plant  "  am- 
brosia," others  again,  "  artemisia." 


The  brabyla9  is  possessed  of  astringent  properties  like  those 
of  the  quince,  but  beyond  this,  authors  give  no  particulars 
relative  to  it. 


Sea  bryon10  is  a  plant,  no  doubt,11  with  leaves  like  those  of 

4  The  Ballota  nigra  of  Linnaeus,  the  Fetid  ballota,  or  Stinking  black 
horehound ;  see  B.  xx.  c.  89. 

5  He  is  in  error  here,  as  the  word  "  raelamprasion "  means  "  black 
horehound.'*     "  Black  leek  "  would  be  "  melamprason." 

6  "  Horehound,"  properly.     The  Ballota  is  of  a  stimulating  nature,  and 
contains  a  considerable  quantity  of  essential  oil. 

7  The  Chenopodium  botrys  of  Linnaeus,  Cut-leaved  goose  foot,  or  oak 
of  Jerusalem.     See  B.  xxv.  c.  36,  and  c.  11  of  this  Book. 

8  There  is  no  such  resemblance.     The  name  "  botrys  "  was  given  to 
the  plant  from  the  little  clusters  formed  by  the  blossoms. 

9  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Prunus  domestica  of  Linnaeus,  var.  /?,  or 
Damascena,  the  Damascene  plum  or  damson.     Desfontaines  considers  it 
to  he  the  Prunus  instititia,  the  Bullace  plum.   Holland  mentions  in  a  Note, 
"  Bullois,  skegs,  or  such  like  wild  plums." 

10  The  Ulva  lactuca  of  Linnaeus,  Lettuce  laver ;   see  B.  xiii.  c.  49,  B. 
xxiv.  c.  17,  and  B.  xxxii.  c.  36. 

11  He  probably  says  this  in  reference  to  the  opinion  expressed  by  Theo- 

Chap.  35.]  THE   CATANANCE.  237 

the  lettuce,  of  a  wrinkled,  pursed  appearance,  and  destitute  of 
stem,  the  leaves  arising  from  a  single  root :  it  grows  upon 
rocks  more  particularly,  and  shells  sunk  in  the  sand.  It  has 
desiccative12  and  astringent  qualities  in  a  very  high  degree, 
properties  which  render  it  useful  for  reducing  all  kinds  of 
abscesses  and  inflammations,  those  attendant  upon  gout  in 
particular.  It  is  good  also  for  all  affections  which  stand  in 
need  of  cooling  applications. 


I  find  it  stated  that  seed  of  bupleuron13  is  given  for  injuries 
inflicted  by  serpents  ;  and  that  the  wound  is  fomented  with 
a  decoction  of  the  plant,  in  combination  with  leaves  of  the 
mulberry  or  of  origanum.14 


The  catanance15  is  a  Thessalian  plant,  which  it  would  be 
a  mere  loss  of  time  to  describe,  seeing  that  it  is  only  used  as 
an  ingredient  in  philtres.  In  order,  however,  to  expose  the 
follies  of  the  magical  art,  it  may  not  be  out  of  place  to  remark 
that  this  plant  has  been  selected  for  the  above-named  purpose, 
from  the  fact  that,  as  it  withers,  it  gradually  contracts  and 
assumes  the  shape  of  the  claws  of  a  dead  kite.16 

For  a  similar  reason  we  shall  give  no  description  of  the 
plant  called  "  cemos."17 

phrastus,  Hist.  iv.  7,  that  it  was  a  name  for  sea- weed  in  general,  and  not 
a  specific  plant. 

1  -  In  reality,  it  is  destitute  of  medicinal  properties.  Some  kinds  of  laver 
are  considered  a  dainty  food. 

13  See  B.  xxii.  c.  35.  u  See  B.  xx.  c.  67. 

15  Dioscorides  speaks  of  two  kinds  of  Catanance  ;    one  of  which  has 
heen  identified  hy  Sprengel  with  the  Ornithopus  compressus  of  Linnaeus, 
and  the  other  with  the  Astragalus  pugniformis.     Fee  expresses  his  doubts 
as  to  the  correctness  of  these  conclusions. 

16  "  As  if  it  would  catch  women,  and  hold  them  fast  perforce." — Holland. 
It  has  been  suggested  that  the  Coronopus,  or  "  crow's  foot,"   mentioned 
in  B.  xxi.  c.  59^  was  so  called  for  a  similar  reason. 

17  Prosper  Alpinus  identifies  it  with  the  Plantago  Cretica  of  X*inna3us, 
and  Sprengel  with  the  Micropus  erectus  of  Linnaeus.     Fee  considers  it  to 
be  the  Gnaphalium  leontopodium  of  Lamarck. 

238  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOBY.        [Book  XXVII. 


Of  the  calyx18  there  are  two  kinds.  One  of  these  resembles 
arum,  and  is  found  growing  in  ploughed  soils;  the  proper 
time  for  gathering  it  being  before  it  begins  to  wither.  It  is  em- 
ployed for  the  same  purposes  as  arum  ;19  and  an  infusion  of  the 
root  is  taken  as  a  purgative  and  as  an  emmenagogue.  The 
stalks,  boiled  with  the  leaves  and  some  pulse,  are  curative  of 



The  other20  kind  of  calyx  is  known  by  some  persons  as 
*'  anchusa,"  and  by  others  as  "  onoclia."  The  leaves  are  like 
those  of  the  lettuce,  but  longer,  and  with  a  downy  surface. 
The  root  is  red,  and  is  employed  topically,  in  combination 
with  fine  polenta,21  for  the  cure  of  erysipelas :  taken  inter- 
nally with  white  wine,  it  is  good  for  affections  of  the  liver. 


The  circaea22  resembles  the  cultivated  trychnon23  in  ap- 
pearance, It  has  a  small  swarthy  flower,  a  diminutive  seed, 
like  millet,  growing  in  small  horn-shaped  pods,  and  a  root 
half  a  foot  in  length,  generally  triple  or  fourfold,  white, 
odoriferous,  and  hot  in  the  mouth.  It  is  found  growing  upon 
rocks  exposed  to  the  sun.  An  infusion  of  it  is  prepared  with 
wine,  and  administered  for  pains  and  affections  of  the  uterus : 
to  make  it,  three  ounces  of  the  pounded  root  should  be  steeped 

18  Other  readings  are  "calsa, "  and  "calla;"  but  "calyx"  is  supported 
by  the  text  of  Dioscorides,  B.  iv.  c.  23.     The  first  kind  has  been  generally 
identified  with  the  Arum  arisarum  of  Linnaeus,  Hooded  arum,  or  Monk's 
hood,  and  is  identical  probably  with  the  Aris  aros  of  B.  xxiv.  c.  94. 

19  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  93. 

20  Probably  the  Anchusa  tinctoria  of  Linnaeus,  Dyer's  alkanet.    See  B. 
xxii.  c.  23. 

21  "  Flore  polentas."     See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

22  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Asclepias  nigra,  Black  swallow-wort, 
but  Fee  considers  it  to  be  the  Circasa  Lutetiana  of  Linnaeus,  Parisian 
circa3a,  or  enchanter's  nightshade.      Other  authorities  have  suggested  the 
Capsicum  annuum  of  Linnaeus,  Indian  or  Guinea  pepper,  and  the  Celosia 
margaritacea  of  Linnaeus,   Pearly  celosia,  or  cock's  coinb.      M.  Fraas 
suggests,  though  with  some  doubt,  the  Cynanchura  Monspeliacum,  the 
Montpellier  dog's-bane.  23  See  B.  xxi.  c.  105. 

Chap.  40.]  THE   CEAT^IGONON.  239 

in  three  sextarii  of  wine  a  day  and  a  night.  This  potion  is 
effectual  also  for  bringing  away  the  after-birth.  The  seed  of 
this  plant,  taken  in  wine  or  hydromel,  diminishes  the  milk  in 
nursing  women. 


The  cirsion24  is  a  plant  consisting  of  a  diminutive  and  deli- 
cate stem,  two  cubits  in  height,  of  a  triangular  form,  and 
covered  with  prickly  leaves.  The  prickles  on  the  leaves  are 
downy,  and  the  leaves  themselves  resemble  those  of  buglos- 
sos25  in  shape,  but  are  smaller,  and  of  a  whitish  colour.  At 
the  summit  of  the  plant  there  are  small  purple  heads,  which 
fall  off  in  the  shape  of  down.  This  plant  or  the  root  of  it, 
worn  as  an  amulet,  it  is  said,  is  curative  of  the  pains  attendant 
upon  varicose  veins. 



The  crataegonon26  is  similar  to  an  ear  of  corn  in  appearance. 
It  is  formed  of  numerous  shoots,  springing  from  a  single  root, 
and  full  of  joints.  It  grows  in  umbrageous  localities,  and  has 
a  seed  like  that  of  millet,  with  a  remarkably  acrid  taste.  If 
a  man  and  woman,  before  the  evening  meal,  take  three  oboli  of 
this  seed  in  three  cyathi  of  water,  for  forty  days  consecutively, 
before  the  conception  of  their  issue,  it  will  be  sure  to  be  of  the 
male27  sex,  they  say. 

There  is  another  crataagonon,  known  also  as  "  thelygonos,"28 
and  distinguished  from  the  last  mentioned  plant  by  the  mild- 
ness of  the  taste.  Some  persons  assert  that  females,  if  they 
take  the  blossom  of  this  plant  in  drink,  will  be  sure  to  con- 
ceive before  the  end  of  forty  days.  These  plants,  used  in  com- 
bination with  honey,  are  curative  of  black  ulcers  of  a  chronic 
nature ;  they  also  fill  the  concavities  made  by  fistulous 

24  Identified  with  the  Carduus  parviflorus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Small-flowered 
thistle.  25  See  B.  xxv.  c.  40. 

26  Identified  hy  Fee  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Polygonum  persicaria  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Spotted  persicaria,  red-shanks,  fleawort,  or  lakeweed.  Littre 
gives  the  Crucianella  Monspeliaca  of  Linnaeus,  Montpellier  petty  madder. 

27  Hence  its  name,  signifying  that  it  strengthens  the  generative  powers. 

28  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  91. 

240  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 

ulcers  with  new  flesh,  and  restore  such  parts  of  the  hody  as 
are  wasted  by  atrophy.  They  act  as  a  detergent  upon  purulent 
sores,  disperse  inflammatory  tumours,  and  alleviate  gout  and 
all  kind  of  abscesses,  those  of  the  mamillae  in  particular. 

Under  the  name  of  "  crataegos"29  or  '*' cratsegon,"  Theo- 
phrastus30  speaks  of  the  tree  known  in  Italy  as  the  "  aquifolia." 


The  crocodileon31  resembles  the  black  chamseleon32  in  shape : 
the  root  is  long,  of  an  uniform  thickness,  and  possessed  of  a 
pungent  smell.  It  is  found  growing  in  sandy  soils.  Taken 
in  drink,  it  causes  a  copious  discharge  of  coagulated  blood  at 
the  nostrils,  and  in  this  way,  it  is  said,  diminishes  the  volume 
of  the  spleen. 


The  cynosorchis,33  by  some  called  "  orchis,"  has  leaves  like34 
those  of  the  olive,  soft,  three  in  number,  half  a  foot  in  length, 
and  lying  upon  the  ground.  The  root  is  bulbous,  oblong,  and 
divided  into  two  portions,35  the  upper  one  hard,  and  the  lower 
one  soft.  These  roots  are  eaten  boiled,  like  bulbs,36  and  are 
mostly  found  growing  in  vineyards.  If  males  eat  the  upper 
part,  they  will  be  parents  of  male  issue,  they  .say,  and  females, 
if  they  eat  the  lower  part,  of  female.  In  Thessaly,  the  men 
take  the  soft  portion  in  goats'  milk  as  an  aphrodisiac,  and  the 
hard  part  as  an  antaphrodisiac.  Of  these  parts,  the  one  effec- 
tually neutralizes  the  action  of  the  other.37 

29  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  72.     Littre  remarks  that  Pliny  is  in  error  here,  for 
that  the  Crataegos  of  Theophrastus  is  the  Cratsegos  azarolia  of  Linnseus, 
the  Parsley-leaved  hawthorn,  while  the  Aquifolia  of  Pliny  is  the  Holly. 
As  to  the  latter  point,  see  B.  xvi.  cc.  8,  12 

30  Hist.  Plant.  B.  iii.  c.  15. 

31  Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Centaurea  crocodileuin  of  Linnaeus, 
and  Littre  wjth  the  Cardims  pycnocephalus  of  Linnaeus.      Ruellius  con- 
siders it  to  b*e  the  same  plant  as  the  Leucacantha  of  Dioscoridesj  which 
Sprengel  identifies  with  the  Cnicus   Casahonce.     Fee  expresses  himself  at 
a  loss  as  to  its  identity.  32  See  B.  xxii.  c.  21. 

33  u  Do-g'g  testicle/"'  Considered  to  be  a  synonym  merely  of  the  Orchis, 
mentioned  in  B.  xxvi.  c.  62.  34  This  comparison  is  totally  incorrect. 

35  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  62.  3G  Or  onions. 

37  A  tissue  of  groundless  superstitions. 

Chap.  44.]  THE    GUCUBALUS.  241 


The  chrysolachanum38  grows  in  pine  plantations,  and  is 
similar  to  the  lettuce  in  appearance.  It  heals  wounds  of  the 
sinews,  if  applied  without  delay.  There  is  another  kind39  of 
chrysolachauum  mentioned,  with  a  golden  flower,  and  a  leaf 
like  that  of  the  cabbage :  it  is  boiled  and  eaten  as  a  laxative 
vegetable.  This  plant,  worn  as  an  amulet  by  a  patient  suffer- 
ing from  jaundice,  provided  it  be  always  kept  in  sight,  is  a  cure 
for  that  disease,  it  is  said.  I  am  not  certain  whether  this  is 
all  that  might  be  said  about  the  chrysolachanum,  but,  at 
all  events,  it  is  all  that  I  have  found  respecting  it ;  for  it  is 
a  very  general  fault  on  the  part  of  our  more  recent  herbalists, 
to  confine  their  account  of  plants  to  the  mere  name,  with  u 
very  meagre  description  of  the  peculiar  features  of  the  plant, 
— j  ust  as  though,  forsooth,  they  were  universally  known.  Thus, 
they  tell  us,  for  instance,  that  a  plant  known  as  "  coagulum40 
terra3,"  acts  astringently  upon  the  bowels,  and  that  it  dispels 
strangury,  taken  in  water  or  in  wine. 


The  leaves  of  the  cucubalus,41  they  tell  us,  bruised  with 
vinegar,  are  curative  of  the  stings  of  serpents  and  of  scorpions. 
Some  persons  call  this  plant  by  the  name  of  "  strumus,"42 
while  others  give  it  the  Greek  name  of  "  strychnon :"  its  ber- 
ries are  black.  The  juice  of  these  berries,  administered  in 
doses  of  one  cyathus,  in  two  cyathi  of  honied  wine,  is  curative 
of  lumbago  ;  an  infusion  of  them  with  rose  oil  is  used  for  head- 
ache, and  they  are  employed  as  an  application  for  scrofulous 

3S  "  Golden  vegetable."  Supposed  to  be  identical  with  the  Atriplex  of 
B.  xx.  c.  38,  our  Orage. 

rfy  Cultivated  orage,  probably. 

40  "  Earth  rennet."    This  plant  has  not  been  identified.    Lobelius  has 
made  a  guess  at  the  Serapias  abortiva  of  Linnaeus,  the  Helleborine.     It  is 
pretty  clear  that  it  was  unknown  to  Pliny  himself. 

41  The  same,  probably,  as  the  Trychnon  of  B.  xxi.  cc.  52, 105,  Solanum 
nigrum  or  Black  nightshade.  In  the  former  editions  the  reading  is  "cuculus." 

4~  The  "  strumous  "  or  "scrofula"  plant. 

VOL.    V.  li 

242  PLINY'S  NATUKAL  HISTOBY.         [Book  XXVII. 


The  conferva43  is  peculiar  to  running  streams,  those  of  the 
Alpine  regions  more  particularly ;  receiving  its  name  from 
"  conferrumino,"44  to  solder  together.  Properly  speaking,  it  is 
rather  a  fresh-water  sponge  than  a  moss  or  a  plant,  being  a 
dense,  porous  mass  of  filaments.  I  know  an  instance  where  a 
man,  who  fell  to  the  ground  while  lopping  a  tree  of  consider- 
able height,  and  broke  nearly  every  bone  of  his  body,  was  cured 
by  the  agency  of  this  plant.  The  patient's  body  was  covered  all 
over  with  conferva,  the  application  being  continually  sprinkled 
with  water  the  moment  it  began  to  dry,  and  only  removed  for 
the  purpose  of  changing  it  when  the  plant  gave  signs  of  losing 
its  virtues.45  It  is  hardly  credible  with  what  rapidity  he  re- 

CHAP.    46.    (9.) THE  COCCUS  CNIDIUS,  OR  GRAIN  OF  CNIDOS  *.    TWO 


The  Cnidian  grain46  has  just  the  colour  of  the  kermes  berry.47 
It  is  larger  than  a  peppercorn,  and  has  very  heating  proper- 
ties :  hence  it  is  that  when  used,  it  is  taken  in  crumb  of 
bread,  that  it  may  not  burn  the  throat  in  passing  downwards. 
It  is  a  sovereign  remedy  for  hemlock,  and  arrests48  looseness  of 
the  bowels. 


The  dipsacos49  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  lettuce,  with 
prickly  tubercles  on  the  middle  of  the  back.  The  stem  of  it, 
two  cubits  in  length,  is  bristling  all  over  with  prickles  of  a 
similar  nature.  The  joints  of  the  stem  are  closely  covered 
with  two  leaves,  which  form  a  concave  axil  in  which  a  saltish 
dew-like  liquid  collects.50  At  the  summit  of  the  stem  there 

43  Possibly  the  Conferva  rivularis,  or  the  C.  glomerata  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Eiver  conferva  or  River  sponge,  or  the  Green  cluster  conferva. 

44  On  account  of  its  asserted  agglutinative  properties.      In  reality  it  is 
an  inert  plant,  and  is  never  used  in  medicine. 

45  Fee  considers  this  statement  as  fabulous  in  every  respect. 

46  See  B.  xiii.  c.  35. 

47  "  Coccus."     See  B.  xvi.  c.  12. 

This  is  not  the  case.     Sillig  is  of  opinion  that  the  passage  is  imperfect. 
49  The  same  plant  as  the  Labrum  Venereum  of  B.  xxv.  c.  108.     It  is 
used  for  carding  cloth,  but  is  no  longer  employed  in  medicine. 
30  Hence  its  uaiiie  "  Venus'  bath." 

Chap.  50.]  THE   ELATIKE.  243 

are  small  heads  covered  with  prickles :  it  grows  in  watery 

This  plant  is  used  for  the  cure  of  chaps  of  the  fundament 
and  of  fistula ;  in  which  latter  case  the  root  is  boiled  down  in 
wine  to  the  consistency  of  wax,  to  allow  of  its  being  introduced 
into  the  fistula  in  the  form  of  a  salve.61  It  is  employed,  too, 
for  the  cure  of  all  kinds  of  warts :  as  a  liniment  for  which, 
the  juice  collected  in  the  axils,  as  above  mentioned,  is  also  used 
by  some. 


The  dryopteris,52  which  resembles  fern  in  appearance,  is 
found  growing  upon  trees ;  the  leaves  are  of  a  somewhat  sweet- 
ish53 flavour  and  marked  with  slight  indentations,  and  the 
root  is  hairy.  This  plant  is  possessed  of  caustic  properties,54 
and  hence  the  root  is  pounded  and  used  as  a  depilatory.  In 
using  it  the  skin  is  rubbed  with  it  till  perspiration  is  excited, 
the  operation  being  repeated  a  second  and  a  third  time,  care 
being  taken  not  to  remove  the  perspiration. 


The  dryophonon55  is  a  similar  plant,  with  thin  stems  a  cubit 
in  length,  and  surrounded  on  either  side  with  leaves  about  as 
large  as  the  thumb  and  like  those  of  the  oxymyrsine56  in  ap- 
pearance, only  whiter  and  softer :  the  blossom  is  white,  and 
similar  to  that  of  the  elder.  The  shoots  of  it  are  eaten  boiled, 
and  the  seed  is  used  as  a  substitute  for  pepper. 


The  elatine57  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  helxine,68  diminu- 

51  "Collyrii." 

52  The  same  plant,  prohably,  as  the  Polypodion  of  B.  xxvi.  c.  37.     Littre, 
however,  identifies  it  with  the  Asplenium  adiantum  nigrum  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Black  maiden-hair,  or  spleenwort. 

63  It  is  the  root  that  is  sweet,  and  not  the  leaves. 

54  It  has  no  such  properties. 

55  The  "  oak-killer."     Fee  thinks  that  it  may  possibly  be  the  Conval- 
laria  uniilora  of  Linnaeus.     Desfontaines  names  the  Cochlearia  draba,  and 
Littre  the  Lepidium  draba  of  Linnaeus. 

56  See  B.  xv.  cc.  7,  37,  and  B.  xxiii,  c.  83. 

67  Desfontaines  and  Fee  identify  it  with  the  Antirrhinum  spuriura  of 
Linnaeus,  Bastard  toad-flax,  calves'  snout,  or  snapdragon.  Littre  gives 
the  Linaria  Groeea  as  its  synonym.  58  See  B.  xxii.  c.  19. 

B  2 

244  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 

live,  round,  and  hairy ;  its  branches  are  small,  half  a  foot  in 
length,  five  or  six  in  number,  and  covered  with  leaves  from 
the  root  upwards.  It  grows  in  corn-fields,  and  has  a  rough 
flavour :  hence  it  is  found  very  useful  for  defluxions  of  the 
eyes,  the  leaves  being  beaten  up  and  applied  with  polenta 59  in 
a  linen  pledget.  A  decoction  of  this  plant  with  linseed,  taken 
in  pottage,  is  good  for  dysentery. 



Empetros,60  by  the  people  of  our  country  called  "calci- 
fraga,"61  grows  on  mountains  near  the  sea,  and  is  generally 
found  upon  rocks :  the  nearer  it  grows  to  the  sea  the  salter  it 
is,  acting  as  an  evacuant  of  bile  and  pituitous  secretions.  That, 
on  the  other  hand,  which  grows  at  a  greater  distance  and  more 
inland,  is  of  a  more  bitter  flavour.  It  carries  off  the  aqueous 
humours  of  the  body,  being  taken  for  that  purpose  in  broth  of 
some  kind,  or  else  hydromel.  When  old,  it  loses  its  strength ; 
but  used  fresh,  either  boiled  in  water  or  pounded,  it  acts  as  a 
diuretic,  and  disperses  urinary  calculi.  Authorities  who  wish 
full  credence  to  be  given  to  this  asserted  property,  assure  us 
that  pebbles  boiled  with  it  will  split  asunder. 


The  epipactis,62  called  "  elleborine  "  by  some,  is  a  diminutive 
plant  with  small  leaves.  Taken  in  drink,  it  is  extremely  use- 
ful for  diseases  of  the  liver,  and  as  an  antidote  to  poisons. 


The  epimedion63  consists  of  a  stem  of  moderate  size,  with 
ten  or  twelve  leaves  like  those  of  ivy :  it  never  flowers,  and 

69  See  B.  xviii.  c.  14. 

60  Fee,  with  Sprengel,  identifies  it  with  the  Salsola  polychlonos  of  Lin- 
Tiseus,  Branchy  saltwort  or  glasswort ;    Bauhin  with  the  Passerina  poly- 
galifolia.      The  Crithmum  maritinmm  of  Linnaeus,   Sea  samphire,   has 
been  suggested  by  Desfontaines.    Littre  gives  the  Frankenia  pulverulenta 
of  Linnaeus.     Holland  suggests  Saxifrage. 

61  "  Calculus-breaking."  62  See  B.  xiii.  c.  35. 

63  Sprengel  suggests  the  Marsilea  quadrifolia  of  Linnaeus;  Columna 
the  Botrychium  lunaria  of  LinnaBUs  ;  C.  Bauhin  the  Ornithogalum  Nar- 
bonense  of  Linnaeus,  Narbonese  star  of  Bethlehem  ;  and  Talius  the  Caltha 
palustris  of  Linnseus,  the  Marsh  marigold.  Fee  considers  its  identification 

Cbap.  55.]  FILix  OK  FEilisr.  245 

has  a  thin,  black  root,  with  a  powerful  smell.  It  grows  in 
humid  soils.  This  plant  also  has  certain  astringent  and  cool- 
ing properties,  but  females  must  be  on  their  guard 64  against 
it.  The  leaves,  beaten  up  in  wine,  prevent  the  bosom  from 
growing  too  large  in  young  girls. 


The  enneaphyllon65  has  nine  long  leaves,  and  is  of  a  caustic 
nature.  It  is  employed  topically,  but  when  used  it  is  wrapped 
in  wool  to  prevent  it  from  cauterizing  further  than  desirable, 
for  it  blisters  immediately.  Fort  lumbago  and  sciatica  it  is  of 
the  greatest  utility. 


Of  fern  there  are  two  varieties,  equally  destitute  of  blossom 
and  of  seed.66  The  Greeks  give  the  name  of  "pteris,"  and 
sometimes  "  blachnon,"  to  the  kind67  in  which  numerous  shoots 
take  their  rise  from  a  single  root,  exceeding  two  cubits  even  in 
length,  and  with  a  not  unpleasant  smell  i68  this  plant  is  thought 
to  be  the  male  fern. 

The  other  kind  is  known  to  the  Greeks  as  "  thelypteris,"69 
and  sometimes,  "nymphoea pteris:"  it  has  a  single  stem  only, 
with  comparatively  few  branches,  is  shorter,  softer,  and  more 
tufted  than  the  other,  and  has  channelled  leaves  growing  near 
the  root.  Swine  are  fattened  upon  the  roots  of  either  kind. 
The  leaves  of  both  kinds  are  arranged  on  either  side  in  the 
form  of  wings,  whence  the  Greek  name  "  pteris."  The  roots 
are  long,  run  obliquely,  and  are  of  a  swarthy  colour,  more  par- 

64  Because  it  was  said  to  be  a  cause  of  sterility. 

65  Identified  with  the  Dentaria  enneaphylla  of  Linnaeus,  the  Nine-leaved 
tooth -wort. 

66  From  this  remark,  Fee  is  of  opinion  that  he  had  in  view  more  par- 
ticularly the  Pteris  aquilina  and  the  Blechnum  spicatum  of  Linnaeus,  plants 
in  which  the  seed  is  not  easily  detected. 

67  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Polypodiuin  filix  mas  of  Linnaeus,  the  Male 

68  Dioscorides  says  it  has  a  somewhat  unpleasant  smell,  and  this  is  nearer 
the  truth. 

69  "  Female  fern."     Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Polypodium  filix  fsemina 
.  of  Linnaeus,  Female  fern  or  Pteris  aquilina. 

246  PLIKY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XXVII. 

ticularly  when  dried :  when  wanted  for  use,  they  should  be 
dried  in  the  sun.  These  plants  are  found  growing  everywhere, 
but  in  cold  soils  more  particularly ;  they  should  be  taken  up, 
too,  at  the  setting  of  the  Yergilise.70  The  root  is  only  used  at  the 
end  of  three  years,  neither  before  that  period  nor  after.  They 
act  as  an  expellent  of  intestinal  worms  ;  for  tapeworm71  honey 
is  taken  with  them,  but  in  other  cases  sweet  wine,  for  three  days. 
They  are,  both  of  them,  extremely  detrimental  to  the  sto- 
mach, but  are  laxative  to  the  bowels,  carrying  off  first  the  bile 
and  then  the  aqueous  humours  of  the  body.  When  used  for 
tapeworm,  it  is  the  best  plan  to  take  scammony  with  them,  in 
equal  proportions.  For  rheumatic  defluxions,  the  root  is  taken 
in  doses  of  two  oboli,  in  water,  after  a  day's  abstinence  from 
food,  a  little  honey  being  taken  first.  Neither  kind  must  ever 
be  given  to  females ;  for  in  pregnancy  they  are  productive  of 
abortion,  and  in  other  cases  entail  sterility.  Powdered  fern  is 
sprinkled  upon  sordid  ulcers,  as  also  upon  the  necks  of  beasts 
of  burden,  when  chafed.  Fern-leaves  kill  bugs,  and  serpents 
will  never  harbour  among  them  :  hence  it  is  a  good  plan  to 
strew  them  in  places  where  the  presence  of  those  reptiles  is 
suspected.  The  very  smell,  too,  of  burnt  fern  will  put  serpents 
to  flight.  Medical  men  have  made  this  distinction  as  to  ferns  ; 
that  of  Macedonia,  they  say,  is  the  best,  and  that  of  Cassiope 
the  next. 

CHAP.    56. — FEMUR   BUBTJLUM,  OR    OX   THIGH. 

The  name  of  femur  bubulum72  is  given  to  a  plant  which  is 
good  for  the  sinews,  applied  fresh,  and  beaten  up  with  salt  and 


Galeopsis,73  or  as  some  call  it,  "  galeobdolon"  or  "galion," 

70  See  B.  xviii.  c.  59. 

71  Fee  remarks  that  root  of  fern  is  an  undoubted  remedy  for  tapeworm, 
and  that  it  is  worthy  of  remark  that  we  owe  to  the  ancients  the  two  most 
efficient  anthelmintics  known,  fern-root,  namely,  and  pomegranate  rind. 

72  The  Femur  hubulum  has  not  been  identified.     C.  Bauhin  has  suggested 
the  Leonurus  cardiaca  of  Linnaeus,  Motherwort. 

73  It  has  been  suggested  that  this  plant  is  the  same  as  the  Lamium, 
mentioned  in  B.  xxii.  c.  16,  but  Fee  is  not  of  that  opinion.     He  identifies 
the  Galeopsis  with  the  Lamium  purpureum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Purple  arch- 
angel, or  dead-nettle.     Littre  gives   as  its  synonym  the  Scrofularia  pere- 
grina  of  Linnaeus,  the  Foreign  figwort. 

Chap.  59.]  GLAUCIOST.  247 

is  a  plant  with  a  stem  and  leaves  like  those  of  the  nettle,  only 
smaller  ;  and  which,  when  bruised,  emit  a  powerful  smell.  The 
flower  is  purple,  and  the  plant  is  found  growing  everywhere, 
about  hedges  and  foot-paths.  The  leaves  and  stems,  bruised  in 
vinegar,  and  applied  topically,  are  curative  of  indurations, 
carcinomata,  and  scrofulous  sores.  They  disperse  also  inflam- 
matory tumours  and  imposthumes  of  the  parotid  glands,  and 
it,  is  found  a  useful  plan  to  foment  the  parts  affected  with  a 
decoction  of  them.  Applied  with  salt,  this  plant  is  curative 
of  putrid  ulcers  and  gangrenous  sores. 


The  glaux74  was  known  in  ancient  times  as  the  "  eugalac- 
ton."75  In  the  leaves  it  resembles  the  cytisus  and  the  lentil, 
only  that  they  are  whiter  beneath.  The  branches,  five  or  six 
in  number,  are  extremely  thin,  and,  springing  from  the  root, 
creep  upon  the  ground,  with  small  purple  blossoms  upon  them. 
This  plant  is  found  in  localities  near  the  sea.  It  is  boiled  in 
a  pottage  made  of  similago,76  to  increase  the  milk :  females, 
however,  after  taking  it,  must  immediately  use  the  bath. 


Glaucion77  grows  in  Syria  and  Parthia;  it  is  a  plant  of 
stunted  growth,  and  thickly  covered  with  leaves,  like  those  of 
the  poppy  in  appearance,  only  smaller  and  of  a  more  repulsive 
aspect :  it  has  an  offensive  smell,  and  a  bitter,  astringent  taste. 
The  seed,  which  is  of  a  saffron  colour,  is  put  into  a  vessel 
coated  with  potter's  claj7,  and  heated  in  an  oven ;  when  taken 
out,  a  juice78  is  extracted,  which  is  known  by  the  same  name  as 
the  plant.  This  juice  and  the  leaves,  bruised,  are  used  for  de- 
fluxions  of  the  eyes,  which  disappear  in  an  instant,  under  this 

74  Fee  thinks  that  it  may  possibly  be  the  Astragalus  glaux  of  Linnaeus, 
or  Milk  vetch,  as  originally  suggested  by  Clusius.      Littre  gives  as  its 
synonym  the  Sennebierra  coronopus  of  Poireau. 

75  The  "  Good  milk  "  plant. 

76  See  B.  xviii.  cc.  19,  20. 

77  See  B.  xx.  c.  78,  where  a  similar  plant  is  mentioned.     Fee  identifies 
this   plant  •with  the  Glaucium  hybridum,  or  Chelidonium  of  Linnaaus, 
the  Violet-coloured  celandine,  or  horned  poppy.      Littre'   gives  the  Glau- 
ciura  flavum  of  Linna3us  as  its  synonym. 

7B  This  is  a  yellow,  acrid,  caustic  juice ;  it  is  no  longer  used  in  medicine. 

248  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 

treatment :  an  eye-salve,  too,  is  prepared  from  the  juice,  known 
as  "  diaglaucia,"  to  medical  men.  The  milk,  when  the  secretion 
of  it  is  stopped,  is  restored  by  the  agency  of  this  plant,  for  which 
purpose  it  is  taken  in  water. 



The  glycyside,79  by  some  called  "  paeonia"  or  "  pentorobos," 
has  a  stem  two  cubits  in  length,  accompanied  by  two  or  three 
others,  and  of  a  reddish  colour,  with  a  bark  like  that  of  the 
laurel.  The  leaves  are  similar  to  those  of  isatis,80  but  more 
unctuous,  rounder,  and  more  diminutive ;  the  seed  is  enclosed 
in  capsules,  some  being  red  and  some  black,  there  being 
two  varieties  of  the  plant.  The  female  plant  is  generally 
thought  to  be  the  one  to  the  root  of  which  some  six  or  eight 
bulbs  are  attached,  of  an  elongated  form;  those  of  the  male 
plant61  being  more  in  number,  as  it  throws  out  more  roots  than 
one,  a  palm  in  length,  and  of  a  white  colour :  it  has  also  an 
astringent  taste.  The  leaves  of  the  female  plant  smell  like 
myrrh,82  and  lie  closer  together  than  those  of  the  male. 

Both  plants  grow  in  the  woods,  and  they  should  always  be 
taken  up  at  night,83  it  is  said ;  as  it  would  be  dangerous  to  do 
so  in  the  day-time,  the  woodpecker  of  Mars  being  sure  to 
attack  the  eyes84  of  the  person  so  engaged.  It  is  stated  also 
that  the  person,  while  taking  up  the  root,  runs  great  risk  of 
being  attacked  with  procidence  of  the  anus  :  all  this,  however, 
I  take  to  be  so  much  fiction,  most  frivolously  invented  to  puff 
off  their  supposed  marvellous  properties.  Both  plants  are  used85 
for  various  purposes :  the  red  seed,  taken  in  red  wine,  about 
fifteen  in  number,  arrest  menstruation  ;  while  the  black  seed, 
taken  in  the  same  proportion,  in  either  raisin  or  other  wine, 
are  curative  of  diseases  of  the  uterus.  The  root,  taken  in  wine, 
allays  all  kinds  of  pains  in  the  bowels,  and  acts  as  a  purgative; 
it  cures  opisthotony  also,  jaundice,  nephritic  diseases,  and  affec- 
tions of  the  bladder.  Boiled  in  wine,  it  is  used  for  diseases  of 

79  The  Peony ;  described  in  B.  xxv.  c.  10. 

80  See  B.  xx.  c.  25,  and  B.  xxii.  c.  2.  81  See  B.  xxv.  c.  10. 

82  In  reality  it  is  destitute  of  smell. 

83  See  B.  xxv.  c.  10. 

84  Or,  as  Holland  says,  would  "  be  ready  to  job  out  tbeir  eyes." 

85  In  reality,  the  peony  has  no  medicinal  virtues  whatever. 

Chap.  62.]  THE    GALLIDHAGA.  249 

the  trachea  and  stomach,  and  acts  astringently  upon  the  howels. 
It  is  eaten  also  by  beasts  of  burden,  but  when  wanted  for 
remedial  purposes,  four  drachmae  are  sufficient. 

The  black  seed  is  useful  as  a  preventive  of  night-mare,86 
being  taken  in  wine,  in  number  above  stated  :  it  is  very  good, 
too,  to  eat  this  seed,  and  to  apply  it  externally,  for  gnawing  pains 
of  the  stomach.  Suppurations  are  also  dispersed,  when  recent, 
with  the  black  seed,  and  when  of  long  standing,  with  the  red  : 
both  kinds  are  very  useful,  too,  for  wounds  inflicted  by  ser- 
pents, and  in  cases  where  children  are  troubled  with  calculi, 
being  employed  at  the  crisis  when  strangury  first  makes  its 


Gnaphalium87  is  called  "  chamaezelon"  by  some  :  its  white, 
soft,  leaves  are  used  as  flock,  and,  indeed,  there  is  no  per- 
ceptible difference.  This  plant  is  administered  in  astringent 
wine,  for  dysentery :  it  arrests  looseness  of  the  bowels  and 
the  catamenia,  and  is  used  as  an  injection  for  tenesmus.  It  is 
employed  topically  for  putrid  sores. 


Xenocrates  gives  the  name  of  "  gallidraga"  88  to  a  plant 
which  resembles  the  leucacanthus,89  and  grows  in  the  marshes. 
It  is  a  prickly  plant,  with  a  tall,  ferulaceous  stem,  surmounted 
with  a  head  somewhat  similar  to  an  egg  in  appearance.  When 
this  head  is  growing,  in  summer,  small  worms,90  he  says,  are 
generated,  which  are  put  away  in  a  box  for  keeping,  and  are 
attached  as  an  amulet,  with  bread,  to  the  arm  on  the  side  on 
which  tooth-ache  is  felt ;  indeed  it  is  quite  wonderful,  he  says, 
how  soon  the  pain  is  removed.  These  worms,  however,  are  of 
no  use  after  the  end  of  a  year,  or  in  cases  where  they  have  been 
allowed  to  touch  the  ground. 

86  "  Suppressionibus  nocturnis." 

87  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Santolina    maritima,  Sea  cudwort  or 
cotton-weed.     Fee  considers  its  identification  as  doubtful. 

88  Identified  by  Hardouin  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Dipsacus  pilosus  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Shepherd's  rod,  or  small  white  teasel.     Fee  is  doubtful  ou 
the  subject, 

*>  See  B.  xxii.  c.  18.  9°  See  B.  xxv.  c.  28. 

250  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 


Holcus91  is  a  plant  that  grows  in  arid,  stony,  spots :  it  has  an 
ear  at  the  end  of  a  fine  stem,  and  looks  like  barley  that  has  put 
forth  again  when  cut.  Attached  to  the  head  or  around  the  arm, 
it  extracts92  spikes  of  corn  adhering  to  the  flesh ;  for  which 
reason,  some  persons  give  it  the  name  of  "  aristis." 


Hyoseris92*  resembles  endive  in  appearance,  but  is  a  smaller 
plant,  and  rougher  to  the  touch  :  pounded  and  applied  to 
wounds,  it  heals  them  with  remarkable  rapidity. 


The  holosteon,93  so  called  by  the  Greeks  by  way  of  anti- 
phrasis,94  (in  the  same  way  that  they  give  the  name  of 
"  sweet"95  to  the  gall,)  is  a  plant  destitute  of  all  hardness,  of 
such  extreme  fineness  as  to  resemble  hairs  in  appearance,  four 
fingers  in  length,  and  very  similar  to  hay-grass.  The  leaves  of  it 
are  narrow,  and  it  has  a  rough  flavour :  it  grows  upon  elevated 
spots  composed  of  humus.  Taken  in  wine,  it  is  used  for  rup- 
tures and  convulsions.  It  has  the  property,  also,  of  closing 
wounds ;  indeed,  if  applied  to  pieces  of  meat  it  will  solder 
them  together. 


The  hippophaeston  is  one  of  those  prickly  plants  which 
fullers96  use  in  their  coppers  ;  it  has  neither  stem  nor  flower, 

91  Identified  with  the  Hordeum  murinum  of  Linnaeus,  and  the  same, 

most  probably,  as  the  Mouse  barley  of  B.  xxii.  c.  65. 
93  "Whence  its  name,  from  the  Greek  g'Xfcw,  "to  draw." 
92*  "Swine's  endive."     It  is  generally  identified  with  the  Centaurea 

nigra  of  Linnaeus  ;  though,  as  Fee  says,  on  very  insufficient  grounds,  as 

the  black  centaury  has  but  little  similarity  to  endive. 

93  The  "  all-bone  "  plant.     Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Plantago 
coronopus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Buckshorn  plantain ;  but  Fee  prefers  the  Plan- 
tago holostea  of  Lamarck,  the  Grass-leaved  plantain.      Lfttre  names  the 
Holosteum  umbellatum.     The  Plantago  albicans  of  Linnaeus  has  been  also 

94  Because  there  is  no  hardness  in  it.  95  TA  yXttata. 

96  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  68.  In  B.  xvi.  c.  92,  Fee  identifies  this  plant  with  the 
Calcitrapa  stellata  of  Lamarck.  He  also  suggests  that  it  may  possibly  be 
the  second  "  Hippophaes,"  mentioned  in  B.  xxii.  c.  14.  Desfontaines 
identifies  it  with  the  Cuicus  stellatus,  the  Star-thistle.  Littre  gives  as  its 

Chap.  70.]  THE   ISOPYRON.  251 

but  only  diminutive,  empty  heads,  numerous  small  leaves  of  a 
grass-green  colour,  and  small,  soft,  white  roots.  From  these 
roots  a  juice  is  extracted  in  summer,  which,  taken  in  doses  of 
three  oboli,  acts  as  a  purgative  ;  being  used  for  this  purpose  in 
cases  of  epilepsy,  fits  of  trembling,  dropsy,  vertigo,  hardness  of 
breathing,  and  incipient  paralysis. 

CHAP.  67.    (11.) THE  HYPOGLOSSA  :    ONE    EEMEDY. 

The  hypoglossa97  is  a  plant  with  leaves  like  those  of  the 
wild  myrtle,  of  a  concave  form,  prickly,  and  presenting  another 
small  leaf  within,  resembling  a  tongue  in  shape.  A  wreath 
made  of  these  leaves,  placed  upon  the  head,  alleviates  head- 


Hypecoon98  is  a  plant  found  growing  in  corn-fields,  with 
leaves  like  those  of  rue.  Its  properties  are  similar  to  those  of 
juice  of  poppies. 


The  Idaean"  plant  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  oxymyrsine  ;l 
to  which  leaves  a  sort  of  tendril  adheres,  that  bears  a  flower. 
This  plant  arrests  diarrhoea,  the  catamenia,  when  in  excess, 
and  all  kinds  of  haemorrhage.  It  is  of  an  astringent  and 
repercussive  nature. 


The  isopyron2  is  called  "  phasiolon"  by  some,  from  the  cir- 
cumstance that  the  leaf  of  it,  which  resembles  that  of  anise, 
assumes  a  spiral  form  like  the  tendrils  of  the  phasiolus.3  At 

synonym  the  Centaurea  spinosa,  Prickly  centaury  ;  in  accordance  with  the 
opinion  of  M.  Fraas,  who  admits,  however,  that  the  statement  that  it  has 
neither  stem  nor  flower,  would  hardly  seem  to  indicate  a  species  of  centaury. 

97  The  Ruscus  hypoglossum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Double  tongue. 

98  The  Hypecoiim  procumbens  of  Liunams,  Horned  cummin. 

99  Fee  thinks  that  "  Idsea  herba,"  "  plant  of  Ida,"  may  possibly  be  one 
of  the  synonyms  of  the  Alexandrian  laurel.     See  B.  xv.  c.  39.     Should 
that  identity  not  hold  good,  he  prefers  the  Uvularia  amplexifolia  of  Linnaeus. 

1  See  B.  xv.  cc.  7,  37,  and  B.  xxiii.  c.  83. 

2  Fee  suggests  the  Corydalis  claviculata  of  Decandolle.    Littre  mentions 
the  Fumaria  capreolata  of  Linnaeus, 

3  Or  kidney-bean.    See  B.  xxiv.  c.  40. 

252  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII. 

the  summit  of  the  stem,  it  bears  small  heads  full  of  a  seed  like 
that  of  melanthium.4  These  heads,  taken  with  honey  or 
hydromel,  are  good  for  cough  and  other  affections  of  the  chest; 
they  are  extremely  useful  also  for  liver  complaints. 


The  lathyris5  has  numerous  leaves  like  those  of  the  lettuce,6 
with  numbers  of  small  buds,  in  which  the  seed  is  contained, 
enclosed  in  envelopes  like  that  of  the  caper.  When  these  buds 
are  dry,  the  seeds,  about  the  size  of  a  peppercorn,  are  taken  out : 
they  are  white,  sweet,  and  easily  cleansed  from  the  husk. 
Twenty  of  them,  taken  in  pure  water  or  in  hydromel,  are 
curative  of  dropsy,  and  carry  off  bile.  Persons  who  require  a 
stronger  purgative,  take  them  with  the  husks  on.  They  are 
apt,  however,  to  be  injurious  to  the  stomach ;  for  which  reason 
a  plan  has  been  adopted  of  taking  them  with  fish  or  else 
chicken  broth. 


The  leontopetalon7  is  called  "  pardalion"  by  some :  it  has  a 
leaf  like  that  of  the  cabbage,  and  a  stem  half  a  foot  in  height, 
with  numerous  lateral  branches,  and  a  seed  at  the  extremities 
of  them,  enclosed  in  pods  like  those  of  the  chick-pea.  The  root 
resembles  that  of  rape,  and  is  large  and  black :  it  grows  in 
plough  lands.  The  root,  taken  in  wine,  neutralizes  the  venom 
of  all  kinds  of  serpents ;  indeed,  there  is  nothing  known  that 
is  more  speedily  efficacious  for  that  purpose.  It  is  given  also 
for  sciatica. 


The  lycapsos8  has  longer  and  thicker  leaves  than  those  of 
the  lettuce,9  and  a  long,  hairy  stem,  with  numerous  offshoots  a 

4  Or  Gith.    See  B.  xx.  c.  71. 

5  The  Euphorbia  lathyris  of  Linnaeus,  the  Caper  plant,  or  Caper  spurge. 

6  There  is  no  such  resemblance,  except  that  they  both  contain  a  milky 
juice,  the  properties  of  which  are,  however,  very  different.      It  is  a  plant 
of  an  energetic  and  even  dangerous  nature,  and  must  never  be  mistaken 
for  the  real  caper. 

7  Mostly  thought  to  be  the  same  plant  as  the  Leontopodium  of  B.  xxvi.  c. 
34.  Littre,  however,  identifies  it  with  the  Evax  pygmaeus  of  Linneeus. 

8  Probably  the  Echium  Italicum  of  Linnsus,  Italian  viper's  tongue. 

9  There  is  no  resemblance  between  the  Echium  and  the  lettuce. 

Chap.  74.]  THE   LITHOSPEKMTTM.  253 

cubit  in  length;  the  flower  is  diminutive,  and  of  a  purple  colour ; 
it  grows  in  champaign  localities.  In  combination  with  barley- 
meal,  it  is  used  as  an  application  for  erysipelas  :  the  juice  of 
it,  mixed  with  warm  water,  is  employed  as  a  sudorific,  in 



Among  all  the  plants,  however,  there  is  none  of  a  more 
marvellous  nature  than  the  lithospermum,10  sometimes  called 
"  exonychon,"  "  diospyron,"11  or  "heracleos."  It  is  about  five 
inches  in  height,  with  leaves  twice  the  size  of  those  of  rue,  and 
small  ligneous  branches,  about  the  thickness  of  a  rush.  It 
bears  close  to  the  leaves  a  sort  of  fine  beard  or  spike,  standing 
by  itself,  on  the  extremity  of  which  there  are  small  white  stones, 
as  round  as  a  pearl,  about  the  size  of  a  chick-pea,  and  as  hard  as 
a  pebble.  These  stones,12  at  the  part  where  they  adhere  to 
the  stalk,  have  a  small  cavity,  and  contain  a  seed  within. 

This  plant  is  found  in  Italy,  no  doubt,  but  that  of  Crete  is 
the  most  esteemed.  Among  all  the  plants,  there  is  none  that 
I  ever  contemplated  with  greater  admiration  than  this ;  so 
beauteous  is  the  conformation,  that  it  might  be  fancied  that  the 
hand  of  an  artist13  had  arranged  a  row  of  lustrous  pearls  alter- 
nately among  the  leaves  ;  so  exquisite  too  the  nicety  in  thus 
making  a  stone  to  grow  upon  a  plant !  The  authorities  say 
that  this  is  a  creeping  plant,  and  that  it  lies  upon  the  ground  ; 
but  for  my  own  part,  I  have  only  seen  it  when  plucked,  and 
not  while  growing.  It  is  well  known  that  these  small  stones, 
taken  in  doses  of  one  drachma,  in  white  wine,  break  and 
expel  urinary  calculi,14  and  are  curative  of  strangury.  In- 
deed, there  is  no  plant  that  so  instantaneously  proclaims,  at 

10  Identified  by  Fee  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Lithospermum  officinale 
of  Linnaeus,  Gremil,  gromwell,  or  stone-crop.     Littre  mentions  the  Lithos- 
permum tenuiflorum  of  Linnaeus. 

11  "Jove's  wheat,"  or  the  "plant  of  Hercules." 

12  This  description  applies  to  the  variety  of  Gremil,  known  as  the  Coix 
lacryma  of  Linnseus,  Job's  tears,   originally  an  Indian  plant ;   but  it  may 
have  been  known  in  Italy  in  Pliny's  time. 

18  A  poor  compliment  to  Nature,  as  Fee  remarks. 

14  It  has  in  reality  no  medicinal  properties  to  speak  of ;  but  its  name, 
"  stone  seed,"  and  its  appearance,  would,  of  course,  ensure  its  reputation  as 
an  efficient  cure  for  calculus. 

254  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HTSTOKY.        [Book  XXVII. 

the  mere  sight  of  it,  the  medicinal  purposes  for  which  it  was 
originally  intended;  the  appearance  of  it,  too,  is  such,  that 
it  can  be  immediately  recognized,  without  the  necessity  of 
having  recourse  to  any  botanical  authority. 


There  grows  near  running  streams,  a  dry,  white  moss,15  upon 
ordinary  stones.  One  of  these  stones,  with  the  addition  of 
human  saliva,  is  rubbed  against  another;  after  which  the 
first  stone  is  used  for  touching  impetigo,16  the  party  so  doing 
uttering  these  words  : — 

Osuysrs  xa,v6a,pifo$t   Xvnog  aypiog  al/Ma  biuxsi. 
11  Cantharides17  begone,  a  wild  wolf  seeks  your  blood."18 


Limeum19  is  the  name  given  by  the  Gauls  to  a  plant,  in  a 
preparation  of  which,  known  to  them  as  "deer's20  poison,"  they 
dip  their  arrows21  when  hunting.  To  three  modii  of  salivating 
mixture22  they  put  as  much  of  the  plant  as  is  used  for  poisoning 
a  single  arrow  ;  and  a  mess  of  it  is  passed  down  the  throat, 
in  cases  where  oxen  are  suffering  from  disease,  due  care  being 
taken  to  keep  them  fastened  to  the  manger  till  they  have  been 
purged,  as  they  are  generally  rendered  frantic  by  the  dose.  In 
case  perspiration  supervenes,  they  are  drenched  all  over  with 
cold  water. 



Leuce,23  a  plant  resembling  mercurialis,24  has  received  its 

15  Some  kind  of  lichen,  probably,  but  what  in  particular  it  is  impossible 
to  say.  16  King-worm  or  tetter. 

17  Hardouin  says  that  this  herpetic  disease  is  called   "cantharides,"  be- 
cause it  attacks  the  body  as  the  cantharis  attacks  wheat.  See  B.  xviii.  c.  44. 

18  It  would  be  superfluous  to  look  for  sense  in  this  silly  formula. 

19  Anguillara  and  C.  Bauhin  identify  it  with  the  Ranunculus  thora   of 
Linnaeus,  and  other  authorities  with  the  Doronicum  pardalianches  of  Lin- 
naeus.    Pliny  is  the  only  writer  that  mentions  it ;  and  if  it  really  had  any 
existence,  it  would  seem  quite  impossible,  as  Fee  says,  to  identify  it  with 
correctness.  2°  "  Venenum  cervarium."  21  See  B.  xxv.  c.  25. 

22  "  Salivati."  Holland  renders  this,  "  A  mash  wherewith  they  used  to 
drench  cattle.''  23  Identified  with  the  Lamium  of  B.  xxii.  c.  16. 

24  See  B.  xxv.  c.  18.  The  resemblance,  Fee  says,  is  by  no  means  a 
striking  one. 

Chap.  80.]  THE   MTOSOTA.  255 

name25  from  the  circumstance  that  a  white  line  runs  through 
the  middle  of  the  leaf;  for  which  reason  also,  some  give  it  the 
name  of  "  mesoleucon."26  The  juice  of  this  plant  is  curative  of 
fistula,  and  the  plant  itself,  bruised,  is  good  for  carcinomata. 
It  is  prohably  the  same  plant  as  that  called  "  leucas,"  so 
remarkably  efficacious  for  the  venom  of  all  kinds  of  marine 
animals.  Authors  have  not  given  a  description  of  it,  beyond 
telling  us  that  the  wild  leucas  has  larger  leaves  than  the  other, 
and  has  properties  more  strongly  developed :  they  state  also 
that  the  seed  of  the  cultivated  kind  is  the  more  acrid  of  the 


1  have  not  found  a  description  given  by  any  writer  of  the 
leucographis  ;27  a  thing  I  am  the  more  surprised  at,  as  they  tell 
us  that  it  is  good  for  the  cure  of  spitting  of  blood,  taken  in 
doses  of  three  oboli  with  saffron ;  as  also  that  it  is  useful  for 
cceliac  affections,  applied  beaten  up  in  water,  and  in  cases  of 
excessive  menstruation.  They  state  also  that  it  enters  into 
the  composition  of  ophthalmic  preparations,  and  that  it  fills  up 
ulcers  on  the  more  tender  parts  of  the  body  with  new  flesh. 

CHAP.  79.    (12.) — THE  MEDION:  THREE  REMEDIES. 

The  medion28  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  cultivated  seris,29 
a  stem  three  feet  in  length,  and  a  large,  round,  purple  flower, 
at  its  extremity.  The  seed  is  diminutive,  and  the  root  half  a 
foot  in  length :  it  grows  upon  umbrageous,  sheltered  rocks. 
The  root,  taken  in  doses  of  two  drachmae  with  honey,  arrests 
the  catamenia,  the  electuary  being  used  for  some  days.  The 
seed,  too,  is  administered  in  wine  for  a  similar  purpose. 


The  myosota30  or  myosotis  is  a  smooth  plant,  throwing  out 

25  The  "  white  "  plant.  26  "  White  in  the  middle." 

27  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Cerinthe  of  B.  xxi.  c.  41.     Sprengel,  how- 
ever, considers  it  to  be  the  Carduus  leucographus  of  Linnseus. 

28  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Campanula  Medium  of  Linuieus,  our  Canter- 
bury or  Coventry  bells  ;  but  this  flower  is  blue,  while  the  colour  of  the 
Medion  is  purple.     Littre  gives  the  Convolvulus  althseoides  of  Linnaeus. 
Sibthorp  has  named  the  Campanula  laciniata ;  and  other  authorities  the 
Michauxia  campanuloides. 

29  See  B.  xx.  C:  32. 

30  "  Mouse-ears."     Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Myosotis  scorpioides  of 


from  a  single  root  numerous  hollowed  stems,  of  a  somewhat 
reddish  colour ;  and  bearing  at  the  lower  extremities  swarthy, 
narrow,  oblong  leaves,  sharp  on  the  back,  arranged  in  pairs 
at  regular  distances,  and  springing  from  delicate  branches 
attached  with  axils  to  the  main  stems.  The  flower  is  blue, 
and  the  root,  a  finger  in  length,  is  provided  with  numerous 
filaments  like  hairs.  This  plant  possesses  certain  septic  and  ul- 
cerating properties,  and  hence  is  used  for  the  cure  of  fistula 
of  the  eye.  The  Egyptians  say  that  if  upon  the  morning  of 
the  twenty-eight  day  of  their  month  Thoth,  a  day  which  gene- 
rally falls  in  our  month  of  August,  a  person  rubs  himself  with 
the  juice  of  this  plant  before  speaking  to  any  one,  he  will  be 
sure  to  have  no  diseases  of  the  eyes  all  that  year. 


The  myagros31  is  a  ferulaceous  plant,  with  leaves  like  those 
of  madder:  the  seed  is  of  an  oily  nature — indeed,  an  oil  is 
extracted  from  it.  Ulcerations  of  the  mouth  are  cured  by 
rubbing  them  with  the  juice  of  this  plant. 


The  plant  called  "  nyma"32  bears  three  long  leaves,  like 
those  of  endive :  applied  to  scars,  it  restores  the  skin  to  its 
natural  colour. 


"  Matrix  "33  is  the  name  of  a  plant,  the  root  of  which,  when 
taken  out  of  the  ground,  has  just  the  rank  smell  of  the  he-goat. 
It  is  used  in  Picenum  for  the  purpose  of  keeping  away  from 
females  what  with  a  singular  credulity  they  call  by  the  name 
of  "  Fatui."34  For  my  own  part,  however,  I  should  think  that 

Linnaeus,  Scorpion-grass,  or  mouse-ear,  which  is  not  of  a  corrosive  nature,  as 
Pliny  says,  but  emollient  and  soothing.  Littre  names  the  Asperugo  pro- 
cumbens  of  Linnaeus,  Wild  bugloss,  German  madwort,  or  great  goose-grass. 

31  Sprengel  identifies  it  with  the  Alyssum  sativum,  the  Garden  madwort ; 
Fee  with  the  Cameliria  sativa  of  Crantz,  the  Cultivated  cameline.      Littre 
gives  the  Neslia  paniculata  as  its  synonym. 

32  Or  "  Nigina,"  in  some  editions.     It  is  utterly  unknown. 

33  Possibly  a  fabulous  plant ;  though  it  is  generally  identified  with  the 
Ononis  natrix  of  Linnaeus.     Poinsinet  de  Sivry  derives  its  name  from  the 
Celto-Germanic  words,  nat,  "night,"  and  ns,  "wand;"  a  name  given  to  it, 
according  to  him,  for  its  efficacy  in  dispelling  the  illusions  of  the  night. 

34  Qr  «  Fauni,"  the  same  as  our  nightmare. 

Chap.  86.]  THE  ONOSMA.  2.57 

persons  requiring  to  be   treated  with  such  medicaments  as 
these,  must  be  labouring  under  a  sort  of  mental  hallucination. 


Odontitis35  is  a  sort  of  hay-grass,36  which  throws  out  from  a 
single  root  numerous,  small,  jointed  stems,  of  a  triangular  form 
and  of  a  swarthy  hue.  At  the  joints  there  are  small  leaves, 
somewhat  longer  than  those  of  the  polygonos  ;37  and  in  the 
axils  formed  by  these  leaves  is  the  seed,  similar  to  barley  in 
appearance.  It  has  a  purple,  diminutive  flower,  and  is  found 
growing  in  meadows.38  A  handful  of  the  stems,  boiled  in 
astringent  wine,  is  used  for  the  cure  of  tooth-ache,39  the  de- 
coction being  retained  for  some  time  in  the  mouth. 


The  othonna40  is  a  Syrian  plant,  resembling  rocket  in  ap- 
pearance ;  its  leaves  are  pierced  with  numerous  holes,  and  its 
flower  resembles  that  of  saffron,  for  which  reason  some  persons 
have  given  it  the  name  of  "  anemone."  The  juice  of  thjte 
plant  is  employed  in  ophthalmic  preparations ;  it  is  slightly 
pungent,  of  a  warming  nature,  and  astringent  as  it  dries.  It 
acts  as  a  detergent  upon  cicatrizations,  films  on  the  eyes,  and 
all  impediments  of  the  sight.  Some  say  that  the  plant  is 
washed  and  dried,  and  then  divided  into  lozenges. 


The  onosma41  has  leaves  some  four  fingers  in  length,  lying 
upon  the  ground,  and  indented  like  those  of  the  anchusa  :42  it 
has  neither43  stem,  blossom,  nor  seed.  A  pregnant  woman,  they 
say,  if  she  eats  of  this  plant,  or  even  walks  over  it,  will  be  sure 
to  miscarry. 

35  Probably  the  Euphrasia  odontites  of  Linnaeus,  the  Red  eye-bright. 

36  "  Inter  feni  genera." 

37  See  c.  91  of  this  Book.     There  is  no  resemblance  between  them. 

38  On  the  contrary,  it  grows  in  arid,  sterile  spots. 

39  Hence  its  name  "  odontitis,"    "  tooth-wort." 

40  Its  synonym  is  unknown.     Sprengel  has  identified  it  with  the  Tagetis 
patula  of  Linnaeus,  but  that  is  purely  an  American  plant ! 

41  Probably  one  of  the  Borragineae,  Fee  thinks,  but  beyond  that  he 
considers  it  impossible  to  say.      Desfontaines  identifies  it  with  the  Onosma 
echioides  of  Linnaeus,  the  Hairy  onosma. 

42  See  B.  xxii.  c.  23. 

48  If  it  is  the  plant  above-mentioned,  this  is  incorrect. 
VOL.    V.  S 



The  onopordon,44  it  is  said,  has  strongly  carminative  effects 
upon  asses,  when  they  eat  of  it.  It  acts  as  a  diuretic  and  as  an 
emmenagogue,  arrests  diarrhoea,  and  disperses  abscesses  and 


The  osyris45  bears  small,  swarthy,  flexible  branches,  covered 
with  dark  leaves  like  those  of  flax.  The  seed,  which  grows 
upon  the  branches,  is  black  at  first,  but  afterwards  changes  its 
colour  and  turns  red.  Cosmetics46  for  females  are  prepared 
from  these  branches.  A  decoction  of  the  roots,  taken  in  drink, 
is  curative  of  jaundice.  The  roots,  cut  in  pieces  before  the 
seed  ripens,  and  dried  in  the  sun,  act  astringently  upon  the 
bowels  :  gathered  after  the  seed  has  ripened,  and  boiled  in 
pottage,  they  are  curative  of  defluxions  of  the  abdomen  :  they 
are  taken  also  by  themselves,  bruised  in  rain  water. 

CHAP.  89. THE    OXYS  I    TWO    REMEDIES. 

The  oxys47  is  a  plant  with  three  leaves ;  it  is  given  for 
derangement  of  the  stomach,  and  patients  eat  it  who  are 
Buffering  from  intestinal  hernia.48 


The  polyanthemum,49  by  some  persons  called  "  batrachion,"50 
by  virtue  of  its  caustic  properties  has  an  excoriating  effect 
upon  scars,  and  restores  the  skin  to  its  proper  colour.  It  heals 
white  morphew51  also. 

44  Fee  suggests  that  it  may  be  identical  with  the  Onopyxos  of  B.  xxi. 
c.  56.     Desfontaines,  also,  identifies  it  with  the  Onopordon  acanthium  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Cotton  thistle  or  woolly  thistle. 

45  Probably  the  Osyris  alba  of  Linnaeus,  the  Poet's  cassia.     Anguillara 
and  Dodonaeus  have  mentioned  the  Chenopodium  scoparia  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Summer  cypress,  or  line-leaved  goosefoot,  but  without  any  good  reason,  it 
is  thought.     Holland  calls  it  "  toad -flax." 

46  "Smegmata." 

47  The  "  sour "  plant.     Mostly  identified  with  the  Oxalis  acetosella  of 
Linnaeus,  Cuckoo's  meal,  three  leaved  sorrel,  or  wood-sorrel. 

48  "Enterocele." 

49  The  "many-flowered"  plant.  Probably  the  Ranunciilus  polyanthemos 
of  Linnaeus.     See  B.  xxv.  c.  109. 

50  The  "  frog  "  plant.  51  "  Vitiligines." 

Chap.  91.]  THE  POLYGONOS.  259 



The  Greeks  give  the  name  of  "  polygonos"52  to  the  plant 
known  to  us  as  "  sanguinaria."53  It  is  but  little  elevated  above 
the  ground,  has  leaves  like  those  of  rue,  and  resembles  grass 
in  appearance.  The  juice  of  it,  injected  into  the  nostrils, 
arrests  haemorrhage :  taken  with  wine,  it  has  a  similar  effect 
upon  bleeding  at  any  other  part  of  the  body,  as  also  spitting 
of  blood.  Those  who  distinguish  several  kinds  of  polygonos, 
make  this  to  be  the  male54  plant,  and  say  that  it  is  so  called 
from  the  large  number  of  seeds,  or  else  from  its  numerous 
branches.  Some  call  it  "polygonatos,"66  from  the  number  of 
its  joints,  others,  again,  "teuthalis,"  and  others,  "  car  cine  - 
thron,"  "  clema,"  or  "  myrtopetalos." 

There  are  some  authorities  to  be  found,  however,  who  say  that 
this  is  the  female  plant,  and  that  the  male  is  more  diminutive, 
less  swarthy,  and  more  jointed,  with  a  s,eed  protruding  beneath 
all  the  leaves.  However  this  may  be,  these  plants  are  of  an 
astringent,  cooling  nature.  The  seed  is  laxative,  and,  taken  in 
large  doses,  acts  as  a  diuretic,  and  arrests  defluxions;  indeed, 
if  there  is  no  defluxion,  it  is  of  no  use  taking  it.  For  burning 
heats  of  the  stomach,  the  leaves  are  applied  topically  ;  and  they 
are  used,  in  the  form  of  a  liniment,  for  pains  in  the  bladder,  and 
for  erysipelas.  The  juice  is  used  as  an  injection  for  suppurations 
of  the  ears,  and  by  itself,  for  pains  in  the  eyes.  It  is  admi- 
nistered, also,  in  fevers,  tertian  and  quartan  fevers  more  par- 
ticularly, in  doses  of  two  cyathi,  just  before  the  paroxysms 
come  on ;  as  also  in  cases  of  cholera,  dysentery,  and  derange- 
ment of  the  stomach. 

There  is  a  third  kind,  which  grows  on  the  mountains,  and  is 
known  as  "orios,"56  similar  to  a  delicate  reed  in  appearance,  and 

52  "  Many-seeded."  53  "  Blood  plant." 

54  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Polygonum  aviculare  of  Linnaeus,  the 

55  "  Many-knotted."     Scribonius  says  that  it  received  its  name,  "  poly- 
gonos," from  its  being  found  everywhere. 

56  Or  "mountain"   plant.     Fee  considers  it  to  be  the  same  as  the 
second  kind  above  mentioned,  and  to  correspond  with  the  female  Polygonos 
of  Dioscorides.     He  identifies  it  with  the  Hippuris  vulgaris  of  Linnaeus, 

s  2 

260  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTOBY.          [Book  XXVII. 

having  but  a  single  stem,  with  numerous  joints  running  into 
one  another ;  the  leaves  of  it  are  similar  to  those  of  the  pitch- 
tree,  and  the  root  is  never  used.  This  variety,  however,  is  not 
so  efficacious  as  those  already  mentioned,  and,  indeed,  is  used 
exclusively  for  sciatica.  A  fourth  kind  is  known  as  the  wild57 
polygonos  :  it  is  a  shrub,  almost  a  tree  in  fact,  with  a  ligneous 
root,  a  red  trunk  like  .that  of  the  cedar,  and  branches  resem- 
bling those  of  spartum,58  a  couple  of  palms  in  length,  and  with 
three  or  four  dark-coloured,  knotted  joints.  This  kind,  also,  is 
of  an  astringent  nature,  and  has  a  flavour  like  that  of  the 
quince.  .  It  is  either  boiled  down  in  water  to  one  third,  or  else 
dried  and  powdered  for  sprinkling  upon  ulcerations  of  the 
mouth  and  excoriations :  it  is  chewed,  also,  for  affections  of 
the  gums.  It  arrests  the  progress  of  corrosive  ulcers  and  of  all 
sores  of  a  serpiginous  nature,  or  which  cicatrize  with  difficulty, 
and  is  particularly  useful  for  ulcerations  caused  by  snow. 
Herbalists  employ  it  also  for  quinzy,  and  use  it  as  a  chaplet  for 
head-ache ;  for  defluxions  of  the  eyes,  they  put  it  round  the 

In  cases  of  tertian  fever,  some  persons  pull  it  up  with  the 
left  hand,  and  attach  it  as  an  amulet  to  the  body ;  the  same, 
too,  in  cases  of  haemorrhage.  There  is  no  plant  that  is  more 
generally  kept  by  them  in  a  dry  state  than  the  polygonos. 


The  pancratium  is  called  by  some  the  "  little  squill,"59  in 
preference  :  it  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  white  lily,  but 
longer  and  thicker,  and  a  root  composed  of  a  large,  red,  bulb. 
The  juice  of  it,  taken  with  meal  of  fitches,  relaxes  the  bowels, 
and  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  ulcers  :  for  dropsy,  and  diseases 
of  the  spleen,  it  is  administered  with  honey.  Some  persons 
boil  it  till  the  water  becomes  sweet ;  the  water  is  then  poured 
off,  and  the  root  is  pounded  and  divided  into  tablets,  which 

Mare's  tail,  or  female  horse-tail ;  Littre  gives  the  Equisetum  pallidum  of 
Bory  as  its  synonym. 

57  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Ephedra  distachya  of  Linnaeus,  the  Great 
shrubby  horsetail. 

58  See  B,  xix.  c.  7. 

"  Scillam  pusillam."  Fee  considers  it  to  be  a  squill,  the  variety  with 
the  red  root  of  the  Scilla  maritima  of  Linnseus,  the  Sea-squill.  Littre 
gives  as  its  synonym  the  Pancratium  maritimum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Sea- 

Chap.  94.]  THE   PERICLYME1SOS.  261 

are  dried  in  the  sun  and  used  for  ulcerations  of  the  head,  and 
other  affections  which  require  detergents.  It  is  sometimes 
given  for  cough,  a  pinch  in  three  fingers  in  wine,  and,  in  the 
form  of  an  electuary,  for  pains  in  the  side  or  peripneumony. 

It  is  administered,  also,  in  wine,  for  sciatica,  griping  pains 
in  the  bowels,  and  retardations  of  the  catamenia. 


The  peplis,60  known  by  the  various  names  of  "  syce,"6* 
"  meconion,"  and  "  mecon  aphrodes,"  is  a  shrub-like  plant, 
springing  from  a  single,  diminutive,  root.  The  leaves  of  it 
resemble  those  of  rue,  but  are  a  little  larger ;  the  seed,  which 
lies  beneath  the  leaves,  is  round,  and  smaller  than  that  of  the 
white  poppy.  It  is  ordinarily  gathered  in  vineyards,  at 
harvest- time,  and  is  dried  with  the  seed  on,  receivers  being 
placed  beneath  to  catch  it  as  it  falls.  This  seed,  taken  in  drink, 
purges  the  bowels,  and  carries  off  bile  andpituitous  secretions: 
one  acetabulum,  taken  in  three  heminse  of  hydromel,  is  a 
middling  dose.  It  is  sprinkled  also  upon  meat  and  other  articles 
of  food,  as  a  laxative  medicine. 


The  periclymenos62  is  also  a  shrub-like  plant,  with  two 
whitish,  soft,  leaves,  arranged  at  intervals.  At  the  extremity, 
among  the  leaves,  is  the  seed,  hard,  and  very  difficult  to 
pluck.  It  grows  in  ploughed  fields  and  hedges,  entwining 
around  every  object  from  which  it  can  gain  support.  The  seed 
is  dried  in  the  shade,  pounded,  and  divided  into  lozenges. 
These  lozenges  are  left  to  dissolve,  in  three  cyathi  of  white 
wine,  for  a  period  of  thirty  days,  and  are  given  for  diseases  of 
the  spleen ;  the  volume  of  which  is  gradually  diminished  either 
by  discharges  of  bloody  urine,  or  else  by  alvine  evacuation, 
the  effects  of  the  medicament  being  perceptible  at  the  end  of 
ten  days.  The  leaves,  boiled,  act  as  a  diuretic,  and  are  useful 
for  hardness  of  breathing.  Taken  in  drink,  in  manner  above- 

60  Probably  the  Euphorbia  peplis  of  Linnaeus;  see  B.  xx.  c.  81.     It  is  a 
strong  purgative. 

61  "Fig-plant,"    "poppy-juice,"    and  "poppy -froth."      In  reference, 
no  doubt,  to  its  milky  juice. 

62  See  the  Clymenus,  B.  xxv.  c.  33. 

262  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVIL 

mentioned,  they  facilitate  delivery,  and  bring  away  the  after- 


We  have  already63  spoken  of  pelecinon  as  growing  in  corn- 
fields, a  plant  which  throws  out  a  number  of  shoots  from 
thin  stems,  and  has  leaves  like  those  of  the  chick-pea.  The 
seed,  which  is  contained  in  pods  of  a  curved  shape,  like 
diminutive  horns  and  three  or  four  in  number,  is  similar  to 
gith64  in  appearance,  bitter,  and  an  excellent  stomachic.  It  is 
used  as  an  ingredient  in  antidotes.65 


Polygala66  is  a  palm  in  height,  with  leaves  like  those  of  the 
lentil  at  the  extremity  of  the  stem.  It  has  an  astringent  taste ; 
taken  in  drink,  it  increases  the  milk  in  nursing  women. 


Poterion,67  or,  as  some  call  it,  "  phrynion"  or  "  neuras,"68 
throws  out  numerous  branches,  is  shrivelled  and  prickly,  and 
covered  with  a  thick  down.  The  leaves  of  it  are  small  and 
round ;  the  branches  long,  soft,  thin,  and  flexible  ;  and  the 
blossom  elongated,  and  of  a  grass-green  colour.  The  seed  is 
never  used,  but  it  has  a  pungent  flavour  and  a  powerful  smell : 
the  plant  is  found  growing  upon  moist,  watery,  elevations. 
The  roots  are  two  or  three  in  number,  some  two  cubits  in 
length,  sinewy,  white,  and  firm.  It  is  dug  up  in  autumn,  and 
the  stem  yields  a  juice  like  gum,  when  cut.  The  root  is  said 
to  be  of  wonderful  efficacy  as  an  application  for  the  cure  of 
wounds,  more  particularly  of  the  sinews,  even  when  severed. 
A  decoction  of  it  is  also  taken,  with  honey,  for  relaxations  of 
the  sinews,  and  for  weakness  or  wounds  of  those  parts. 

63  In  B.  xviii.  c.  44.     It  was  also  called  "  eecuridaca." 

64  See  B.  xx.  c.  71. 

65  "We  learn  from  Galen  that  it  formed  an  ingredient  in  the  great  anti- 
dote of  Mithridates. 

66  Fee  thinks  that  it  may  possibly  be  the  Polygala  vulgaris  of  Linnaeus,  the 
Common  milk-wort.     Desfontaines  mentions  the  Polygala  amara  of  Lin- 
naeus, the  Bitter  milkwort  of  the  South  of  Europe ;  and  Littre  gives  the 
Polygala  veniilosa  of  Sibthorp. 

87  See  B.  xxv.  c.  76.  68  The  "  sinew  "  plant. 

Chap.  100.]  THE   PHYLLOF.  203 



The  phalangitis69  is  by  some  called  "  phalangion,"  and  by 
others  "  leucanthemum,"70  or,  as  I  find  it  written  in  some 
copies,  "  leucacantha."71  Its  branches  are  diminutive,  never 
less  than  two  in  number,  and  running  in  contrary  directions : 
the  blossom  is  white,  and  similar  to  the  flower  of  the  red  lily  ; 
the  seed  dark  and  broad,  resembling  the  half  of  a  lentil,  but 
much  thinner ;  and  the  root  slender  and  of  a  grass-green  colour. 
The  leaves,  blossoms,  or  seed  of  this  plant  are  employed  for 
the  cure  of  wounds  inflicted  by  scorpions,  serpents,  and  the 
phalangium,72  and  for  the  removal  of  griping  pains  in  the 


As  for  the  phyteuma,73 1  think  it  a  mere  loss  of  time  to 
describe  it,  it  being  only  used  as  an  ingredient  in  philtres. 

CHAP    100. — THE    PHYLLON  :    ONE    PROPERTY. 

The  Greeks  give  the  name  of  "phyllon"74  to  a  plant  which 
grows  among  the  rocks,  in  mountainous  spots.  The  female 
plant  is  of  a  more  grass-green  colour  than  the  other,  with  a 
thin  stem,  a  diminutive  root,  and  a  round  seed,  like  that  of  the 
poppy.  This  last  kind  ensures  the  conception  of  issue  of  the 
same  sex ;  .while  the  male  plant,  differing  only  in  the  seed, 
which  resembles  the  olive  at  its  first  appearance,  ensures  the 
conception  of  male  issue.  They  are  both  taken  in  wine. 

69  Generally  identified  with  the  Anthericum  or  Hemerocallis  liliastrum 
of  Linnaeus,  the  Savoy  anthericum  or  Spider's-wort.     M  Fraas  says,  how- 
ever (Synopsis,  p.  288),  that  that  plant  has  not  been  found  in  Greece  ;  and 
relying  upon  the  description  of  Dioscorides,  he  prefers  the  Lloydia  Grseca, 
which  grows  commonly  in  Attica,  the  isles  of  Greece,  and  the  Peloponnesus, 
as  its  synonym.     It  is  found  upon  elevations  of  1 500  feet. 

70  «  White  flower."  71  "  White  thorn." 

72  Hence  its  name.  See  B.  viii.  c.  41,  B.  x.  c.  95,  and  B.  xi.  cc.  24, 
28,  29. 

'3  Most  probably  the  Reseda  phyteuma  of  Linnaeus,  the  Crosswort. 

74  See  B.  xxii.  c.  18,  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  91.  Fee  thinks  that  it  is  two  plants, 
the  Cnicus  Casabonse,  and  the  Thelygonum  cynocrambe  of  Linnaeus,  that 
are  here  spoken  of.  Littre  gives  the  Mercurialis  perennis  of  Linnaeus, 
Dog's  mercury,  as  its  synonym. 

264  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVII. 


The  phellandrion75  grows  in  marshy  spots,  and  has  a  leaf  like 
that  of  parsley  :  the  seed  of  it  is  taken  in  drink  for  calculi  and 
affections  of  the  bladder. 


The  phalaris76  has  a  long  thin  stem,  like  a  reed,  with  a 
drooping  flower  at  the  extremity ;  the  seed  is  like  that  of 
sesame.77  This  plant,  too,  taken  with  milk  and  honey,  in  wine 
or  vinegar,  breaks  urinary  calculi,  and  is  curative  of  diseases 
of  the  bladder. 


The  polyrrhizon78  has  leaves  like  those  of  myrtle,  and 
numerous  roots.  These  roots  are  pounded  and  administered 
in  wine,  for  injuries  inflicted  by  serpents  :  they  are  useful,  also, 
for  cattle. 


The  proserpinaca,79  a  common  plant  enough,  is  an  excellent 
remedy  for  the  sting  of  the  scorpion.  Powdered  and  mixed 
with  brine  and  oil,  in  which  the  msena80  has  been  preserved,  it 
is  an  excellent  cure,  they  say,  for  quinzy.81  It  is  also  stated 
that,  however  fatigued  a  person  may  be,  to  the  extent  even  of 
losing  his  voice,  he  will  be  sure  to  be  refreshed,  by  putting  this 
plant  beneath  his  tongue ;  and  that  if  it  is  eaten,  a  vomit  will 
be  the  result,  productive  of  good  effects. 

75  Linnaeus  has  given  to  the  Fine-leaved  water-hemlock  the  name  of 
PheUandrium  aquaticum,  but  the  seeds  of  that  plant  are  an  active  poison. 
It  is  probable  that  the  Phellandrium,  or  "  Male-cork-plant "  of  Pliny, 
still  remains  unknown. 

76  Possibly  the  Phalaris  aquatiea  of  Linnaeus,  the  Water  canary-grass. 
Littre  gives  as  its  synonym,  the  Phalaris  nodosa  of  Linnaeus,  Knotted 
canary-grass.     See  Beckmann,  Hist.  Inv.  Vol.  I.  p.  34,  .Bohn's  Ed. 

77  This  is  an  exaggeration ;  Dioscorides  says  "  millet." 

78  Possibly  the  plant  mentioned  in  B.  xxv.  c.  54 ;  though  the  Aristo- 
lochia  has  not  leaves  like  those  of  the  myrtle. 

19  Supposed  to  be  identical  with  the  Polygonos,  mentioned  above  inc.  91. 

80  See  B.ix.  c.  42,  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  11.  From,  this  passage  it  would 
appear  that  the  maena  was  preserved  in  a  somewhat  similar  way  to  our 
Sardines.  *i  gee  g.  xxvi.  c.  11. 

Chap.  106.]  THE    RESEDA.  265 


Rhacoma82  is  imported  from  the  regions  situate  beyond 
Eontus.83  The  root  of  it  is  similar  to  black  costus,*4  but 
smaller  and  somewhat  redder,  inodorous,  and  of  a  hot,  astrin- 
gent flavour ;  when  pounded,  it  yields  a  colour  like  that  of 
wine,85  but  inclining  to  saffron.  Applied  topically,  it  reduces 
abscesses  and  inflammations,  and  heals  wounds :  used  with 
raisin  wine,  it  allays  defluxions  of  the  eyes;  with  honey,  ecchy- 
mosis;  and  with  vinegar,  livid  marks  upon  the  skin.  Reduced 
to  powder,  it  is  sprinkled  upon  malignant  ulcers,  and  is  given 
internally  for  spitting  of  blood,  in  doses  of  one  drachma,  in 
water.  For  dysentery  and  cceliac  affections,  if  unattended 
with  fever,  it  is  administered  in  wine ;  but  if  there  is  fever,  in 
water.  It  is  pounded  more  easily  when  it  has  been  steeped  in 
water  the  night  before.  A  decoction  of  it  is  given,  in  doses 
of  two  drachmae,  for  ruptures,  convulsions,  contusions,  and  falls 
with  violence. 

In  cases  of  pains  in  the  chest,  a  little  pepper  and  myrrh  is 
added.  When  the  stomach  is  deranged,  it  is  taken  in  cold 
water  ;  and  the  same  in  cases  of  chronic  cough,  purulent  ex- 
pectorations, liver  complaint,  affections  of  the  spleen,  sciatica, 
diseases  of  the  kidneys,  asthma,  and  hardness  of  breathing. 
Pounded  and  taken  in  doses  of  three  oboli,  in  raisin  wine,  or 
used  in  the  form  of  a  decoction,  it  cures  irritations  of  the  tra- 
chea :  applied  with  vinegar,  it  acts  as  a  detergent  upon  lichens. 
It  is  taken  in  drink,  also,  for  flatulency,  cold  shiverings,  chilly 
fevers,  hiccup,  gripings  of  the  bowels,  herpetic  ulcerations, 
oppressions  of  the  head,  vertigo  attended  with  melancholy, 
lassitude  accompanied  with  pain,  and  convulsions. 

CHAP.   1  06. THE    RESEDA  :    TWO  REMEDIES. 

In  the  vicinity  of  Ariminum,  there  is  a  well-known  plant 
called  "  reseda  :"86  it  disperses  abscesses  and  all  kinds  of  in- 
flammations. Those  who  employ  it  for  these  purposes,  add 

82  The  reading  of  this  word  is  very  doubtful.     It  is  generally  supposed 
to  be  the  Rheum  Rhaponticum  of  Linnaeus,  Pontic  rhubarb. 

83  The  shores  of  the  Euxine. 
**>  See  B.  xii.  c.  25. 

85  "  Fulvum,"  probably,  "  tawny-coloured,"  not  white,  red,  or  black ; 
see  B.  xiv.  cc.  11,  18. 

86  Possibly  the  Reseda  alba  of  Linnaeus. 

266  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVII- 

the  following  words  :  "  Beseda,P7  allay  this  disease !  knowest 
thou  not,  knowest  thou  not,  what  chick  it  is  that  has  torn  up 
these  roots  ?  Let  it  have  nor  head  nor  feet  I"88  This  formula 
is  repeated  thrice,  the  party  spitting  on  the  ground  each  time. 


The  stcechas 89  grows  only  in  the  islands  of  that  name.90  It 
is  an  odoriferous  plant,  with  leaves  like  those  of  hyssop,  and 
of  a  bitter  taste.  Taken  in  drink,  it  promotes  menstruation, 
and  allays  pains  in  the  chest.  It  forms  an  ingredient,  also,  in 


The  solanum,91  according  to  Cornelius  Celsus,93  is  called 
"stryehnon  "  by  the  Greeks;  it  is  possessed  of  repercussive  and 
refrigerative  properties. 

CHAP.    109. — SMYRNION  :    THIRTY-TWO    REMEDIES.       SINON  :     TWO 

Smyrnion 93  has  a  stem  like  that  of  parsley,  but  larger  leaves, 
and  growing  principally  about  the  young  shoots,  which  are 
numerous.  From  the  midst  of  these  shoots  the  leaves  make 
their  appearance,  unctuous,  and  bending  towards  the  ground. 
This  plant  has  a  medicinal  smell,  penetrating  to  a  certain 
degree,  and  agreeable :  the  colour  of  it  is  a  pale  yellow,  and 
the  stems  bear  rounded  umbels  like  those  of  dill,94  with  a 
round,  black  seed,  which  dries  at  the  beginning  of  summer. 
The  root,  also,  is  odoriferous,  of  an  acrid,  pungent  flavour,  soft 
and  juicy,  black  on  the  outer  coat  and  pale  within.  The  smell 
of  it  partakes  very  much  of  the  nature  of  that  of  myrrh,  to 

87  "  Reseda,  morbos  reseda."    A  pun  upon  the  name  of  the  plant,  and 
the  verb  "  resedo." 

88  Like  the  silly  charm  itself,  "  neither  head  nor  tail." 

89  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  27. 

90  The  Stcechades.     See  B.  iii.  c.  11,  and  B.  xxxii.  c.  11. 

91  See  B.  xxi.  c.  105,  and  c.  44  of  this  Book.    The  black  nightshade  is 
neither  astringent  nor  cooling,  but  a  narcotic  poison. 

92  De  Be  Med.  ii.  33. 

93  See  B.  xix.  cc.  48,  62.    It  is  generally  identified  with  the  Smyrniurn 
perfoliatum  of  Linnaeus,  the  Perfoliated  alexander. 

94  "Anethi"  is  a  preferable  reading  to  "apii,"  "parsley." 

Chap.  110.]  TELEPHION.  267 

which,  in  fact,  it  owes  its  name :  it  grows  in  localities  of  a 
stony  nature,  or  covered  with  humus.  Its  medicinal  properties 
are  warming  and  resolvent. 

The  leaves  and  root  are  used  as  a  diuretic  and  as  an  emmen- 
agogue  ;  the  seed  arrests  diarrhoea;  and  the  root,  applied  topi- 
cally, disperses  abscesses  and  suppurations,  provided  they  are 
not  inveterate,  and  reduces  indurated  tumours.  It  is  useful, 
also,  for  injuries  inflicted  by  the  phalangium  and  by  serpents, 
taken  in  wine,  with  the  addition  of  cachrys,95  polium,96  or  me- 
lissophyllum  ;97  the  dose,  however,  must  be  taken  a  little  at  a 
time  only,  for  otherwise  it  acts  as  an  emetic,  a  reason  for  which 
it  is  sometimes  administered  with  rue.  The  seed  or  root  is 
curative  of  cough,  hardness  of  breathing,  and  diseases  of  the 
thoracic  organs,  spleen,  kidneys,  and  bladder ;  the  root,  too,  is 
used  for  ruptures  and  convulsions.  This  plant  facilitates 
delivery,  and  brings  away  the  afterbirth ;  it  is  also  given,  in 
combination  with  crethmos,98  in  wine,  for  sciatica.  It  acts  as  a 
sudorific  and  carminative,  for  which  reason  it  is  used  to  disperse 
flatulency  of  the  stomach  ;  it  promotes,  also,  the  cicatrization 
of  wounds. 

A  juice  is  extracted  from  the  root,  which  is  very  useful  for 
female  complaints,  and  for  affections  of  the  thoracic  organs 
and  viscera,  possessing,  as  it  does,  certain  calorific,  digestive, 
and  detergent  properties.  The  seed,  in  particular,  is  given  in 
drink  for  dropsy,  external  applications  being  made  of  the 
juice,  and  emollient  poultices  applied  of  the  dried  rind  of  the 
root.  It  is  used,  also,  as  a  seasoning  for  food,  boiled  meat  in 
particular,  with  the  addition  of  honied  wine,  oil,  and  garum.90 

Sinon,1  a  plant  with  a  flavour  very  like  that  of  pepper,  pro- 
motes the  digestion,  and  is  highly  eflicacious  for  pains  in  the 

Telephion2  resembles  purslain  in  the  stem  and  leaves.     From 

95  See  B.  xxiv.  c.  60.  *  See  B.  xxi.  c.  21. 

97  See  B.  xxi.  c.  86.  °8  See  B.  xxvi.  c.  60. 

99  "  Fish-sauce."    See  B.  ix.  c.  30,  and  B.  xxxi.  c.  43. 

1  Possibly  the  same  plant  as  the  Sison  of  Dioseorides,  identified  with 
tlie  Sison  amomum  of  Linnaeus,  Field  hone-wort,  or  stone- parsley. 

2  Identified  by  Fee  with  the  Sedum  Telephiura  of  Linnaeus,  the  Or- 
pine or  livelong ;  by  Desfontaines  with  the  Sedum  anacampseros,  the  Ever- 

268  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOET.         [Book  XXVII. 

the  root  of  it  there  spring  seven  or  eight  small  branches, 
covered  with  thick,  fleshy  leaves ;  it  grows  in  cultivated  spots, 
and  among  vines  in  particular.  It  is  used  as  an  application 
for  freckles,  being  removed  as  soon  as  dry ;  it  is  employed, 
also,  for  white  morphew,3  being  applied  some  six  hours  each 
night  or  day,  and  the  treatment  continued  for  about  three 
months :  after  removing  it,  barley-meal  should  be  applied. 
Telephion  is  healing,  also,  for  wounds  and  fistulas. 


The  trichomanes4  is  a  plant  that  resembles  the  adiantum,5  ex- 
cept that  it  is  more  slender  and  of  a  darker  colour ;  the  leaves 
of  it,  which  are  similar  to  those  of  the  lentil,  lie  close  together, 
on  opposite  sides,  and  have  a  bitter  taste.  A  decoction  of  this 
plant,  taken  in  white  wine,  with  the  addition  of  wild  cummin, 
is-curative  of  strangury.  Bruised  and  applied  to  the  head,  it 
prevents  the  hair  from  falling  off,  and,  where  it  has  come  off, 
restores  it :  pounded  and  applied  with  oil,  it  effects  the  cure 
of  alopecy.  The  mere  taste  of  it  is  provocative  of  sneezing. 


The  thalictrura6  has  leaves  like  those  of  coriander,  only 
somewhat  more  unctuous,  and  a  stem  resembling  that  of  the 
poppy.7  It  is  found  growing  everywhere,  in  champaign  locali- 
ties more  particularly.  The  leaves,  applied  with  honey,  heal 


Of  thlaspi  there  are  two  kinds  ;  the  first 8  of  which  has  nar- 
row leaves,  about  a  finger  in  length  and  breadth,  turned  to- 
green  orpine  ;  and  by  Littre  with  the  Cerinthe  aspera,  the  Prickly  honey- 
wort.  3  «  Vitiligini." 

4  The  same  plant  as  the  Callitrichos  of  B.  xxv.  c.  86. 

5  See  B.  xxii.  c.  30. 

6  Identified  by  Fee  and  Desfontaines  with  the  Thalictrum  minus  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Small  meadow  rue.     Littre  gives  the  Thalictrum  flavum  of 
Linnaeus,  the  Common  meadow  rue. 

7  In  its  colour. 

8  Fee  identifies  it  with  the  Thlaspi  campestre  of  Linnaeus,  the  Wild 
bastard-grass ;  Littre  with  the  Thlaspi  bursa  pastoris  of  Linnseus,  Shep- 
herd's purse,  otherwise  known  as  Capsella  bursa  pastoris.     Desfontaines 
gives  as  the  Thlaspi  of  Galen,  the  Cochlearia  draba  of  Linnaeus. 

Chap.  115.]  THE   TKAGONIS.  269 

wards  the  ground,  and  divided  at  the  point.  It  has  a  slender 
stem,  half  a  foot  in  length,  and  not  wholly  destitute  of 
branches;  the  seed,  enclosed  in  a  crescent- shaped  capsule,9  is 
similar  to  a  lentil  in  shape,  'except  that  it  has  a  jagged 
appearance,  to  which,  in  fact,  it  owes  its  name  ;10  the  flower  is 
white,  and  the  plant  is  found  near  footpaths  and  in  hedges. 
The  seed,  which  has  an  acrid  flavour,  carries  oif  bile  and 
pituitous  secretions,  by  vomit  and  by  alvine  evacuation,  the 
proper  dose  being  one  acetabulurn.  It  is  used,  also,  for  sciatica, 
in  the  form  of  an  injection,  this  treatment  being  persevered  in 
until  it  has  induced  a  discharge  of  blood  :  it  acts  also  as  an 
emmenagogue,  but  is  fatal  to  the  foetus. 

The  other  thlaspi,  known  by  some  as  "  Persicon  napy,"11  has 
broad  leaves  and  large  roots,  and  is  also  very  useful  as  an 
injection  for  sciatica.  Both  plants  are  very  serviceable  for  in- 
guinal complaints  ;  it  being  recommended  that  the  person  who 
gathers  them  should  mention  that  he  is  taking  them  for  diseases 
of  the  groin,  for  abscesses  of  all  kinds,  and  for  wounds,  and 
that  he  should  pluck  them  with  one  hand  only. 


What  sort  of  plant  the  trachinia 12  is,  the  authorities  do  not 
state.  I  think  that  the  assurance  given  by  Democritus  must 
be  false :  for  it  would  be  nothing  less  than  a  prodigy,  for  a 
plant,  attached  as  an  amulet,  to  consume  the  spleen  in  so  short 
a  time  as  three  days. 


The  tragonis,13  or  tragion,  grows  nowhere  but  in  the  mari- 
time districts  of  the  Isle  of  Crete  ;  it  resembles  the  juniper  in 

9  "  Peltarum  specie."  The  "  pelta  "  was  a  small,  light  shield,  of 
various  forms,  but  most  commonly,  perhaps,  that  of  a  crescent. 

10  From  0\a'o>,  "  to  break." 

11  "  Persian  mustard."     The  Lunaria  annua  of  Linnaeus,  the  Annual 
moon-wort,  honesty,  or  satin-flower,  has  been  suggested  by  Sprengel,  but 
its  identity  is  very  doubtful. 

12  This  plant  is  unknown.    A  rose  of  this  name  is  mentioned  in  E.  xxi 
c.  10. 

13  See  B.  xiii.  c.  36.     Fee  suggests  that  it  may  possibly  be  a  variety  of 
the  Pistacia  lentiscus  of  Linnaeus,  the  Mastich-tree,  or  lentisk.     Desfou- 
taines  identifies  it  with  the  Hypericon  hircinum.     M.  Fraas  (Synopsis,  p. 
182)  suggests  the  Origanum  maru. 

270  PLINY'S  NATUEAL  HISTOET.        [Book  XXVII. 

the  seed,  leaf,  and  branches.  Its  milky  juice,  which  thickens 
in  the  form  of  a  gum,  or  its  seed,  taken  in  drink,  expels  pointed 
weapons  from  the  flesh.  The  plant,  too,  is  pounded  fresh  and 
applied  as  a  liniment  with  wine,  or,  dried  and  powdered,  with 
honey.  It  increases  the  milk  in  nursing  women,  and  is  a 
sovereign  remedy  for  diseases- of  the  mamillse. 


There  is  another  plant  also,  called  "tragos,"14  or  "  scorpion" 
hy  some,  half  a  foot  in  height,  branchy,  destitute  of  leaves, 
and  bearing  diminutive  red  clusters,  with  a  seed  like  that  of 
wheat,  but  pointed  at  the  extremity  :  this  too  grows  in  mari- 
time localities.  Ten  or  twelve  tops  of  the  branches,  bruised 
and  taken  in  wine,  are  remedial  in  cases  of  cceliae  affections, 
dysentery,  spitting  of  blood,  and  excessive  menstruation. 


There  is  the  tragopogon,15  also,  by  some  called  "  come  ;"  a 
plant  with  a  small  stem,  leaves  like  those  of  saffron,  an  elon- 
gated, sweet,  root,  and  a  large,  swarthy  calyx  at  the  extremity 
of  the  stem.  It  grows  in  rugged  soils,  and  is  never  used. 


Such,  then,  is  all  that  I  have  hitherto  been  enabled  to 
learn  or  discover,  worthy  of  mention,  relative  to  plants.  At 
the  close  of  this  subject,  it  seems  to  me  that  it  will  not  be  out 
of  place  to  remind  the  reader,  that  the  properties  of  plants 
vary  according  to  their  age.  It  is  elaterium,  as  already 
stated,16  that  preserves  its  properties  the  longest  of  all.  The 
black  chamseleon16*  retains  its  virtues  forty  years,  centaury  not 
more  than  twelve,  peucedanum  17  and  aristolochia 18  six,  and 
the  wild  vine  one  year — that  is  to  say,  if  they  are  kept  in  the 
shade.  I  would  remark,  also,  that  beyond  those  animals  which 
breed  within  the  plants,  there  are  none  that  attack  the  roots 

14  See  B.  xiii.  c.  37.     M.  Fraas  (Synopsis,  p.   257)  identifies  it  with 
the  Epbedra  distachya  of  Linnaeus,  the  Great  shrubby  horsetail. 

15  "  Goafs-beard.       Probably  the  Tragopogon  crocifolium  of  Linnaeus, 
the  Saffron-leaved  goat's  beard.       Though  its  properties  are  not  inert ,  it 
is  never  used  in  medicine. 

16  In  B.  xx.  c.  3.  16«  See  c.  41  of  this  Book. 

17  See  B.  xxv.  c.  70.  18  See  B.  xxv.  c.  54. 

Chap.  120.]      MALADIES  PECULIAB  TO  VARIOUS  NATIONS.        271 

of  any  of  those  which  have  been  mentioned  by  me  ;  with  the 
exception,  indeed,  of  the  sphondyle,19  a  kind  of  creeping 
insect,20  which  infests  them  all. 



It  is  also  an  undoubted  truth,  that  the  virtues  and  properties 
of  all  roots  are  more  feebly  developed,  when  the  fruit  has  been 
allowed  to  ripen ;  and  that  it  is  the  same  with  the  seed,  when 
incisions  have  been  previously  made  in  the  root,  for  the  ex- 
traction of  the  juice.  The  efficacy,  too,  of  all  plants  is  impaired 
by  making  habitual  use  of  them  ;  and  these  substances,  if  em- 
ployed daily,  lose  equally  their  good  or  bad  properties,  when 
required  to  be  effectual.  All  plants,  too,  have  more  powerful 
properties,  when  grown  in  soils  that  are  cold  and  exposed  to 
the  north-eastern  blasts,  or  in  dry  localities. 


There  are  certain  differences,  also,  by  no  means  inconsider- 
able, in  the  predispositions  of  the  various  nations  of  the  earth. 
I  have  been  informed,  for  instance,  that  the  people  of  Egypt, 
Arabia,  Syria,  and  Cilicia,  are  subject  to  tapeworm  and  maw- 
worm,  while  those  of  Thracia  and  Phrygia,  on  the  other  hand, 
are  totally  exempt  from  them.  This,  however,  is  less  sur- 
prising than  the  fact  that,  although  Attica  and  Bceotia  are 
adjoining  territories,  the  Thebans  are  troubled  with  these 
inflictions,  while  among  the  people  of  Athens  they  are  un- 

Considerations  of  this  description  lead  me  now  to  turn  my 
attention  to  the  nature  of  the  animated  beings  themselves,  and 
the  medicinal  properties  which  are  inborn  in  them,  the  most 
assured  remedies,  perhaps,  for  all  diseases. 

For  Nature,  in  fact,  that  parent  of  all  things,  has  produced  no 
animated  being  for  the  purpose  solely  of  eating ;  she  has  willed 
that  it  should  be  born  to  satisfy  the  wants  of  others,  and  in 
its  very  vitals  has  implanted  medicaments  conducive  to  health. 
"While  she  has  implanted  them  in  mute21  and  inanimate 
objects  even,  she  has  equally  willed  that  these,  the  most  in- 

19  A  kind  of  foetid  beetle,  Hardouin  says.    Probably  an  Aphis. 

20  "  Serpentis."  21  See  B.  xxii.  c.  3. 


valuable  aids  of  life,  should  be  also  derived  from  the  life  of 
another — a  subject  for  contemplation,  marvellous  in  the  highest 
degree  !21 

SUMMARY. — Remedies,  narratives,  and  observations,  six  hun- 
dred and  two. 

ROMAN  AUTHORS  QUOTED.  —  Caius  Yalgius,22  Pompeius  Le- 
nseus,23  Sextius  Niger 24  who  wrote  in  Greek,  Julius  Bassus  25 
who  wrote  in  Greek,  Antonius  Castor,26  Cornelius  Celsus.27 

FOREIGN  AUTHORS  QUOTED,  —  Theophrastus,28  Apollodorus,29 
Democritus,30  Aristogiton,31  Orpheus,32  Pythagoras,33  Mago/4 
Menander35  who  wrote  the  "  Biochresta,"  Meander.36 

MEDICAL  AUTHORS  QUOTED. — Mnesitheus,37  Timaristus,38  Si- 
mus,39  Hippocrates,40  Chrysippus,41  Diodes,42  Ophelion,43  Hera- 
elides,44  Hicesius,45  Dionysius,46  Apollodorus 47  of  Citium,  Apol- 

21  It  is  with  regret  that  at  the  close  of  this  Book,  we  take  leave  of 
the  valuable  Annotations  of  M.  Fee,  a  series  of  illustrations  which  reflect 
the  highest  credit  on  his  learning,  his  industry,  and  his  critical  acumen. 
Were  the  ancient  authors  in  general  subjected  to  the  same  minute  exami- 
nation and  thorough  enquiry  which  he  has  expended  upon  the  Sixteen 
Botanical  Books  of  Pliny,  their  value  would  be  greatly  enhanced,  equally 
to  the  critical  scholar,  and  to  the  general  reader  who  makes  his  acquaint- 
ance with  them  through  the  medium  of  a  translation.     To  say,  that,  in 
reference  to  their  respective  labours  upon  Pliny,  M.  Fee  deserves  our  thanks 
almost  equally  with  the  learned  Sillig — now,  alas !  no  more — is  to  say  much 
indeed  in  his  praise,  and  to  bestow  upon  him  a  commendation  to  which  he 
is  eminently  entitled. 

22  See  end  of  B.  xx.  23  See  end  of  B.  xiv. 
24  See  end  of  B.  xii.  25  See  end  of  B.  xx. 
26  See  end  of  B.  xx.  27  See  end  of  B.  vii. 
28  See  end  of  .B.  iii.  29  See  end  of  B.  xi. 

30  See  end  of  B.  ii. 

31  Beyond  being  mentioned  here,  and  in  c.   14  of  this  Book,  nothing  is 
known  of  this  writer.  32  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

33  See  end  of  B.  ii.  34  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

35  See  end  of  B.  xix.  36  See  end  of  B.  viii. 

37  See  end  of  B.  xix.  3s  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

39  See  end  of  B.  xxi  40  See  end  of  B.  vii." 

41  See  end  of  B.  xx.  42  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

43  See  end  of  B.  xv.  44  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

45  See  end  of  B.  xv.  «  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

47  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

SUMMARY.  273 

lodorus48  of  Tarentum,  Praxagoras,49  Plistonicus,50  Medius,51 
Dieuches,52  Cleophantus,53  Philistion,54  Asclepiades,55  Crateuas,56 
Petronius  Diodotus,57  loUas,58  Erasistratus,59  Diagoras,60  An- 
dreas,61 Mnesides,62  Epicharmus,63  Damion,64  Tlepolemus,65  Me- 
trodorus,66  Solo,67  Lyciis,68  Olyrapias 69  of  Thebes,  Philinus,70 
Petrichus,71  Micton,™  Glaucias,73  Xenocrates.74 

*#*  Before  quitting  the  Botanical  Books  of  Pliny,  it  is  a  duty  both  to 
our  author  and  to  the  reader,  to  call  attention  to  the  illustrations  of  a  few 
passages  in  this  work,  which  will  be  found  in  the  Textrinum  Antiquorum  ^ 
by  Dr.  James  Yates,  F.R.S.,  a  book  characterized  by  learning,  equally  pro- 
found and  extensive,  aud  the  most  indefatigable  research :  it  being  but  re- 
cently, we  are  sorry  to  say,  that  we  have  been  made  acquainted  with  its 
valuable  contents. 

The  following  are  selected  as  among  the  most  useful  and  interesting  results 
of  his  enquiries. 

B.  vi.  c.  20  [V.  ii.  p.  36].  Dr.  Yates  is  of  opinion  that  Pliny  has  here 
mistranslated  a  passage  of  Aristotle,  Hist.  Anim.  v.  19,  and  that  he  has 
mistaken  the  word  J3o/w/3vKia,  <;  cocoons,"  for  webs,  similar  to  those  of 
the  spider,  attached  to  the  leaves  of  trees.  Not  understanding  the  original, 
he  would  seem  to  have  given -a  distorted  account  of  the  simple  operation 
of  winding  the  threads  from  off  the  cocoons  of  the  silkworm  upon  bobbins, 
by  the  hands  of  females  ;  the  threads  upon  which  bobbins  would  be  after- 
wards unwound  for  the  manufacture  of  silken  fabrics.  See  Notes  8  and  9 
on  the  passage  in  question ;  also  B.  xi.  c.  26. 

B.  viii.  c.  74  [V.  ii.  p.  336].  For  the  word  "  Sororiculata,"  Dr.  Yates 
proposes  to  read  "  Soriculata,"  and  he  suggests  that  the  cloth  thus  called 
may  have  been  a  velvet  or  plush,  which  received  its  name  from  its  resem- 
blance to  the  coat  of  the  field-mouse,  "sorex,"  the  diminutive  of  which, 
would  be  "  soricula." 

B.  xix.  c.  2  [V.  iv.  p.  133]  and  c.  6  [p.  138].  Dr.  Yates  expresses  it 
as  his  opinion  that  the  words  li  Carbasus"  and  "  Carbasa"  are  derived  from 
the  oriental  word  Carpas,  signifying  "cotton,"  and  thinks  that  Pliny,  in 
B.  xix.  c.  2,  may  have  used  the  word  by  Catachresis,  as  meaning  linen,  in 
the  same  manner  as  the  Latin  poets  repeatedly  use  the  word  "  carbasa," 
as  signifying  various  kinds  of  woven  textures.  If  this  view  be  correct, 
the  word  "Carbasina"  in  B.  xix.  c.  6,  will  probably  mean  "  awnings  of 

48  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

49  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

30  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

61  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

52  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

53  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

si  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

55  See  end  of  B.  vii. 

56  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

57  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

5*  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

5i)  See  end  of  B.  xi. 

60  See  end  of  "B.  xii. 

61  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

6a  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

63  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

6i  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

65  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

66  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

67  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

68  See  end  of  B.  xii. 

«'  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

70  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

71  See  end  of  B.  xxi. 

72  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

73  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

74  See  end  of  B.  xx. 

TOL.    V. 


274  PLINY'S  NATUBAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVII. 

woven  material "  generally,  and  not  of  fine  linen,  or  cambric,  as  suggested 
in  Note  55. 

B.  xix.  c.  2  [V.  iv.  p.  134].  The  genuineness  of  the  passage  which, 
makes  mention  of  the  "  Gossypium,"  is  questioned  by  Dr.  Yates,  who 
thinks  it  possible  that  it  is  an  interpolation :  such,  however,  if  we  may 
judge  from  the  result  of  Sillig's  researches,  does  not  appear  to  have  been 
the  case.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  the  passage  is  genuine,  Dr.  Yates  is  of 
opinion  that  the  statement  is  incorrect,  and  that  cotton  was  not  grown  in 
Egypt.  It  seems  just  possible,  however,  that  Pliny  may  have  had  in  view 
the  trees  mentioned  by  him  in  B.  xiv.  c.  28, 

B.  xix.  c.  4  [V.  iv.  p.  137,  also  p.  134,  Note  37].  Dr.  Yates  has  ad- 
duced a  number  of  convincing  arguments  to  prove  that  the  "  Byssus  "  of 
the  ancients  cannot  have  been  cotton,  but  that  in  all  probability  it  was  a 
texture  of  fine  flax.  The  passages  of  Pausanias,  (B.  v.  c.  25,  and  B.  vi. 
c.  26)  in  which  "Byssus"  is  mentioned,  would  certainly  seem  to  apply 
to  flax,  a  product  which  is  still  cultivated  near  the  mouth  of  the  river 
Peneus,  in  ancient  Elis.  There  is  no  doubt,  however,  that  Philostratus, 
though  perhaps  erroneously,  has  used  the  word  "Byssus"  as  meaning 




CHAP.  1.    (1.) INTRODUCTION. 

WE  should  have  now  concluded  our  description  of  the  various 
things1  that  are  produced  between  the  heavens  and  the  earth, 
and  it  would  have  only  remained  for  us  to  speak  of  the  sub- 
stances that  are  dug  out  of  the  ground  itself ;  did  not  our  expo- 
sition of  the  remedies  derived  from  plants  and  shrubs  neces- 
sarily lead  us  into  a  digression  upon  the  medicinal  properties 
which  have  been  discovered,  to  a  still  greater  extent,  in  those 
living  creatures  themselves  which  are  thus  indebted  [to  other 
objects]  for  the  cure  of  their  respective  maladies.  For  ought  we, 
after  describing  the  plants,  the  forms  of  the  various  flowers,  and 
so  many  objects  rare  and  difficult  to  be  found — ought  we  to  pass 
in  silence  the  resources  which  exist  in  man  himself  for  the 
benefit  of  man,  and  the  other  remedies  to  be  derived  from  the 
creatures  that  live  among  us — and  this  more  particularly, 
seeing  that  life  itself  is  nothing  short  of  a  punishment,  unless 
it  is  exempt  from  pains  and  maladies  ?  Assuredly  not ;  and 
even  though  I  may  incur  the  risk  of  being  tedious,  I  shall 
exert  all  my  energies  on  the  subject,  it  being  my  fixed  deter- 
mination to  pay  less  regard  to  what  may  be  amusing,  than  to 
what  may  prove  practically  useful  to  mankind. 

Nay,  even  more  than  this,  my  researches  will  extend  to  the 
usages  of  foreign  countries,  and  to  the  customs  of  barbarous 
nations,  subjects  upon  which  I  shall  have  to  appeal  to  the 
good  faith  of  other  authors  ;  though  at  the  same  time  I  have 
made  it  my  object  to  select  no2  facts  but  such  as  are  established 

1  The  trees  and  plants. 

2  On  the  contrary,  this  and  the  four  following  Books  are  full  of  the  most 
extravagant  assertions,  which  bear  ample  testimony  to  his  credulity,  not- 
withstanding the  author's  repeated  declarations  that  he  does  not  believe  in 
Magic.      As  Ajasson  says,  he  evidently  does  not  know  what  he  ought  to 
have  inserted  in  his  work,  and  what  to  reject  as  utterly  unworthy  of  belief. 
His  faults,  however,  were  not  so  much  his  own  as  those  of  his  age.     Want 
of  space,  equally  with  want  of  inclination,  compels  us  to  forego  the  task  of 
entering  into  an  examination  of  the  system  of  Animal  Therapeutics  upon 
which  so  much  labour  has  been  wasted  by  our  author. 

T    2 

276  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVIII. 

by  pretty  nearly  uniform  testimony,  and  to  pay  more  attention, 
to  scrupulous  exactness  than  to  copiousness  of  diction. 

It  is  highly  necessary,  however,  to  advertise  the  reader,  that 
whereas  I  have  already  described  the  natures  of  the  various 
animals,  and  the  discoveries2  due  to  them  respectively — for,  in 
fact,  they  have  been  no  less  serviceable  in  former  times  in  dis- 
covering remedies,  than  they  are  at  the  present  day  in  provid- 
ing us  with  them — it  is  my  present  intention  to  confine  myself 
to  the  remedial  properties  which  are  found  in  the  animal 
world,  a  subject  which  has  not  been  altogether  lost  sight  of  in 
the  former  portion  of  this  work.  These  additional  details 
therefore,  though  of  a  different  nature,  must  still  be  read  in 
connexion  with  those  whieh  precede. 


We  will  begin  then  with  man,  and  our  first  enquires  will 
be  into  the  resources  which  he  provides  for  himself — a  subject 
replete  with  boundless  difficulties  at  the  very  outset.3 

Epileptic  patients  are  in  the  habit  of  drinking  the  blood 
even  of  gladiators,  draughts  teeming  with  life,4  as  it  were  ;  a 
thing  that,  when  we  see  it  done  by  the  wild  beasts  even,  upon 
the  same  arena,  inspires  uswitb  horror  at  the  spectacle!  And 
yet  these  persons,  forsooth,  consider  it  a  most  effectual  cure 
for  their  disease,  to  quaff  the  warm,  breathing,  blood  from  man 
himself,  and,  as  they  apply  their  mouth  to  the  wound,  to  draw 
forth  his  very  life ;  and  this,  though  it  is  regarded  as  an  act 
of  impiety  to  apply  the  human  lips  to  the  wound  even  of  a 
wild  beast !  Others  there  are,  again,  who  make  the  marrow5 
of  the  leg-bones,  and  the  brains  of  infants,  the  objects  of  their 
research ! 

Among  the  Greek  writers,  too,  there  are  not  a  few  who  have 
enlarged  upon  the  distinctive  flavours  of  each  one  of  the  viscera 
and  members  of  the  human  body,  pursuing  their  researches 
to  the  very  parings  of  the  nails  !  as  though,  forsooth,  it  could 

-  See  B.  viii.  c.  97,  et  seq,,  and  B.  xxv.  c.  89,  et  seq. 

*  See  B.  xxviii.  c.  3. 

4  This  practice  is  mentioned  with  reprobation  by  Celsus  and  Tertullian. 
It  was  continued,  however,  in  some  degree  through  the  middle  ages,  and 
Louis  XV.  was  accused  by  his  people  of  taking  baths  of  infants'  blood  to 
repair  his  premature  decrepitude. 

3  In  recent  times,  Guettard,  a  French  practitioner,  recommended  human 
marrow  as  an  emollient  liniment. 

Chap.  2.]  REMEDIES   DERIVED    UROM   MAK,  277 

possibly  be  accounted  the  pursuit  of  health  for  man  to  make 
himself  a  wild  beast,  and  so  deserve  to  contract  disease  from 
the  very  remedies  he  adopts  for  avoiding  it.  Most  righteously, 
by  Hercules !  if  such  attempts  are  all  in  vain,  is  he  disap- 
pointed of  his  cure  !  To  examine  human  entrails  is  deemed 
an  act  of  impiety  ;6  what  then  must  it  be  to  devour  them  ? 

Say,  Osthanes,7  who  was  it  that  first  devised  these  practices: 
for  it  is  thee  that  I  accuse,  thou  uprooter  of  all  human  laws, 
thou  inventor  of  these  monstrosities  ;  devised,  no  doubt,  with 
the  view  that  mankind  might  not  forget  thy  name  !  Who  was 
it  that  first  thought  of  devouring  each  member  of  the  human 
body  ?  By  what  conjectural  motives  was  he  induced  ?  What 
can  possibly  have  been  the  origin  of  such  a  system  of  medicine  as 
this  ?  Who  was  it  that  thus  made  the  very  poisons  less  baneful 
than  the  antidotes  prescribed  for  them  ?  Granted  that  barbarous 
and  outlandish  tribes  first  devised  such  practices,  must  the 
men  of  Greece,  too,  adopt  these  as  arts  of  their  own  ? 

We  read,  for  instance,  in  the  memoirs  of  Democritus,  still 
extant,  that  for  some  diseases,  the  skull  of  a  malefactor  is  most 
efficacious,  while  for  the  treatment  of  others,  that  of  one  who 
has  been  a  friend  or  guest  is  required.  Apollonius,  again,  in- 
forms us  in  his  writings,  that  the  most  effectual  remedy  for 
tooth-ache  is  to  scarify  the  gums  with  the  tooth  of  a  man  who 
has  died  a  violent  death ;  and,  according  to  Miletus,  human  gall 
is  a  cure  for  cataract.8  For  epilepsy,  Artemon  has  prescribed 
water  drawn  from  a  spring  in  the  night,  and  drunk  from  the 
skull  of  a  man  who  has  been  slain,  and  whose  body  remains 
unburnt.  From  the  skull,  too,  of  a  man  who  had  been  hanged, 
Antaeus  made  pills  that  were  to  be  an  antidote  to  the  bite  of  a 
mad  dog.  Even  more  than  this,  man  has  resorted  to  similar  re- 
medies for  the  cure  of  four-footed  beasts  even — for  tympanitis  in 
oxen,  for  instance,  the  horns  have  been  perforated,  and  human 
bones  inserted  ;  and  when  swine  have  been  found  to  be  diseased, 

6  Hence,  as  Ajasson  remarks,  the  ignorance  of  anatomy  displayed  by  the 

7  For  further  particulars  as  to  Osthanes,  see  B.  xxix.  c.  80,  and  B.  xxx. 
cc.  5  and  6 ;  also  cc.  19  and  77  of  the  present  Book.     The  reading,  how- 
ever, is  very  doubtful. 

8  "  Oculoruni  suffusiones."     As  Ajasson  says,  the  remedy  here  mentioned 
reminds  us  of  the  more  harmless  one  used  by  Tobias  for  the  cure  of  the 
blindness  of  his  father  Tobit. 

278  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVIII. 

fine  wheat  has  been  given  them  which  has  lain  for  a  night  in 
the  spot  where  a  human  being  has  been  slain  or  burnt ! 

Par  from  us,  far  too  from  our  writings,  be  such  prescrip- 
tions9 as  these  !  It  will  be  for  us  to  describe  remedies  only, 
and  not  abominations  ;10  cases,  for  instance,  in  which  the  milk 
of  a  nursing  woman  may  have  a  curative  effect,  cases  where 
the  human  spittle  may  be  useful,  or  the  contact11  of  the  human 
body,  and  other  instances  of  a  similar  nature.  We  do  not  look 
upon  life  as  so  essentially  desirable  that  it  must  be  prolonged 
at  any  cost,  be  it  what  it  may — and  you,  who  are  of  that 
opinion,  be  assured,  whoever  you  may  be,  that  you  will  die 
none  the  less,  even  though  you  shall  have  lived  in  the  midst 
of  obscenities  or  abominations  ! 

Let  each  then  reckon  this  as  one  great  solace  to  his  mind, 
that  of  all  the  blessings  which  Nature  has  bestowed  on  man, 
there  is  none  greater  than  the  death12  which  comes  at  a  season- 
able hour  ;  and  that  the  very  best  feature  in  connexion  with  it 
is,  that  every  person  has  it  in  his  own  power  to  procure  it  for 



In  reference  to  the  remedies  derived  from  man,  there  arises 
first  of  all  one  question,  of  the  greatest  importance  and  always 
attended  with  the  same  uncertainty,  whether  words,  charms, 
and  incantations,  are  of  any  efficacy  or  not?14  For  if  such 
is  the  case,  it  will  be  only  proper  to  ascribe  this  efficacy  to 
man  himself  ;15  though  the  wisest  of  our  fellow-men,  I  should 
remark,  taken  individually,  refuse  to  place  the  slightest  faith 
in  these  opinions.  And  yet,  in  our  every-day  life,  we  practi- 
cally show,  each  passing  hour,  that  we  do  entertain  this  belief, 

9  He  gives  a  great  many,  however,  which  are  equally  abominable. 

10  "  Piacula." 

11  We  may  here  discover  the  first  rudiments  of  the  doctrine  of  Animal 

12  In  accordance  with  the  republican  doctrines  of  Cato  of  Utica,  Brutus, 
Cassius,  and  Portia. 

13  Holland  remarks,  "  Looke  for  no  better  divinitie  in  Plinie,  a  meere 
Pagan,  Epicurean,  and  professed  Atheist."     See  B.  vii.  cc.  53,  54. 

14  Whether  or  not,  they  cannot,  as  Ajasson  remarks,  be  regarded  as 
remedies  derived  from  the  human  body,  being  no  part  of  the  human  body. 

15  "  Homini  acceptum  fieri  oportere  conveniat."      This  passage  is  pro- 
bably corrupt. 

Chap.  3.]      WHETHER  WORDS  ARE  OF  HEALING  EFFICACY.      2/P 

though  at  the  moment  we  are  not  sensible  of  it.  Thus,  for 
instance,  it  is  a  general  belief  that  without  a  certain  form  of 
prayer16  it  would  be  useless  to  immolate  a  victim,  and  that, 
with  such  an  informality,  the  gods  would  be  consulted  to  little 
purpose.  And  then  besides,  there  are  different  forms  of 
address  to  the  deities,  one  form  for  entreating,17  another  form  for 
averting  their  ire,  and  another  for  commendation. 

We  see  too,  how  that  our  supreme  magistrates  use  certain 
formulae  for  their  prayers:  that  not  a  single  word  may  be 
omitted  or  pronounced  out  of  its  place,fit  is  the  duty  of  one 
person  to  precede  the  dignitary  by  reacung  the  formula  before 
him  from  a  written  ritual,  of  another,  to  keep  watch  upon 
every  word,  and  of  a  third  to  see  that18  silence  is  not  ominouslj* 
foroken;  while  a  musician,  in  the  meantime,  is  performing  on  the 
fiuta  to  prevent  any  other  words  being  heard.19  Indeed,  there  ^ 
Are  memorable  instances  recorded  in  our  Annals,  of  cases  where 
•  either  the  sacrifice  has  been  interrupted,  and  so  blemished, 
fty  imprecations,  or  a  mistake  has  been  made  in  the  utterance 
of  the  prayer  J  the  result  being  that  the  lobe  of  the  liver  or 
the  heart  has  disappeared  in  a  moment,  or  has  been  doubled,20 
while  the  victim  stood  before  the  altar,  f  There  is  still  in  exist- 
ence a  most  remarkable  testimony,21  in  the  formula  which  the 
Decii,  father  and  son,  pronounced  on  the  occasions  when  they 
devoted  themselves.22  There  is  also  preserved  the  prayer 
uttered  by  the  Vestal  Tuccia,23  when,  upon  being  accused  of 
incest,  she  carried  water  in  a  sieve — an  event  which  took  place 
in  the  year  of  the  City  609.  Our  own  age  even  has  seen  a 
man  and  a  woman  buried  alive  in  the  Ox  Market,24  Greeks  by 
birth,  or  else  natives  of  some  other25  country  with  which  we 

16  Beginning  with  an  address  to  Janus  and  Vesta,  imploring  their  inter- 
cession with  the  other  divinities,  and  concluding  with  an  appeal  to  Janus. 

17  "  Impetritis." 

18  "  Qui  favere  linguis  jubeat."     "  Favete  linguis  "  were  the  words  used 
in  enjoining  strict  silence. 

19  By  him  who  is  offering  up  the  prayer. 

20  A  trick  adroitly  performed  by  the  priests,  no  doubt. 

21  Given  by  Livy,  in  Books  viii.  and  x. 

!2  To  death,  in  battle,  for  the  good  of  their  country. 

23  Preserved  by  Valerius  Maximus,  B.  viii.  c.  1.     Tertullian  and  Saint 
Augustin  doubt  the  authenticity  of  the  story.     She  is  said  to  have  carried 
water  in  a  sieve  from  the  river  Tiber  to  the  temple  of  Vesta. 

24  "  Forum  Boarium  ;M  in  the  Eighth  Kegion  of  the  City. 

25  Of  Gaul,  as  Plutarch  informs  us,  who  mentions  also  the  Greek  victims. 

280  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HTSTOET.         [Book  XXVIII. 

were  at  war  at  the  time.  The  prayer  used  upon  the  occasion 
of  this  ceremonial,  and  which  is  usually  pronounced  first  by 
the  Master  of  the  College  of  the  Quindecimviri,26  if  read  by  a 
person,  must  assuredly  force  him  to  admit  the  potency  of 
formulae ;  when  it  is  recollected  that  it  has  been  proved  to 
be  effectual  by  the  experience  of  eight  hundred  and  thirty 

At  the  present  day,  too,  it  is  a  general  belief,  that  our  Yestal 
virgins  have  the  power,  by  uttering  a  certain  prayer,  to  arrest 
the  flight  of  runaway  slaves,  and  to  rivet  them  to  the  spot, 
provided  they  have  not  gone  beyond  the  precincts  of  the 
City.  If  then  these  opinions  be  once  received  as  truth,  and  if  it 
be  admitted  that  the  gods  do  listen  to  certain  prayers,  or  are 
influenced  by  set  forms  of  words,  we  are  bound  to  conclude 
in  the  affirmative  upon  the  whole  question.  Our  ancestors, 
no  doubt,  always  entertained  such  a  belief,  and  have  even 
assured  us,  a  thing  by  far  the  most  difficult  of  all,  that  it  is 
possible  by  such  means  to  bring  down  lightning  from  heaven, 
as  already27  mentioned  on  a  more  appropriate  occasion. 



L.  Piso  informs  us,  in  the  first  Book  of  his  Annals,  that  King 
Tullus  Hostilius,28  while  attempting,  in  accordance  with  the 
books  of  Numa,  to  summon  Jupiter  from  heaven  by  means  of  a 
sacrifice  similar  to  that  employed  by  him,  was  struck  by 
lightning  in  consequence  of  his  omission  to  follow  certain 
forms  with  due  exactness.  Many  other  authors,  too,  have 
attested,  that  by  the  power  of  words  a  change  has  been 
effected  in  destinies  and  portents  of  the  greatest  importance. 
While  they  were  digging  on  the  Tarpeian  Hill  for  the  founda- 
tions of  a  temple,  a  human  head  was  found ;  upon  which  de- 
puties were  sent  to  Olenus  Calenus,  the  most  celebrated 
diviner  of  Etruria.  He,  foreseeing  the  glory  and  success  which 

The  immolation  of  the  Gauls  is  supposed  to  have  happened  in  the  beginning 
of  the  reign  of  Vespasian. 

2G  Originally  the  "  Decemviri  Sacris  Faciundis,"  whose  number  was  in- 
creased by  Sylla  to  fifteen.  They  had  the  management  of  the  Games  of 
Apollo,  and  the  Secular  Games. 

27  In  B.  ii.  c.  54. 

23  It  has  been  suggested  that  Tullus  Hostilius  was  acquainted  with  some 
of  the  secrets  of  electricity,  and  that  he  met  his  death  while  trying  ex- 
periments with  a  lightning  conductor.  See  B.  ii.  c.  54, 

Chap.  4.]  PRODIGIES   AND   PORTENTS.  281 

attached  to  such  a  presage  as  this,  attempted,  by  putting  a 
question  to  them,  to  transfer  the  benefit  of  it  to  his  own 
nation.  First  describing,  on  the  ground  before  him,  the  outline 
of  a  temple  with  his  staff — "Is  it  so,  Romans,  as  you  say  ?" 
said  he ;  "here  then  must  be  the  temple29  of  Jupiter,  all  good 
and  all  powerful ;  it  is  here  that  we  have  found  the  head" — 
and  the  constant  asseveration  of  the  Annals  is,  that  the  destiny 
of  the  Roman  empire  would  have  been  assuredly  transferred  to 
Etruria,  had  not  the  deputies,  forewarned  by  the  son  of  the 
diviner,  made  answer — "  No,  not  here  exactly,  but  at  Rome, 
we  say,  the  head  was  found/* 

It  is  related  also  that  the  same  was  the  case  when  a  certain 
four-horse  chariot,  made  of  clay,  and  intended  for  the  roof  of 
the  same  temple,  had  considerably  increased  while  in  the 
furnace  ;30  and  that  on  this  occasion,  in  a  similar  manner,  the 
destinies  of  Rome  were  saved.  Let  these  instances  suffice 
then  to  show,  that  the  virtues  of  presages  lie  in  our  own  hands, 
and  that  they  are  valuable  in  each  instance  according  as  they 
are  received.31  At  all  events,  it  is  a  principle  in  the  doctrine 
of  the  augurs,  that  neither  imprecations  nor  auspices  of  any 
kind  have  any  effect  upon  those  who,  when  entering  upon  an 
undertaking,  declare  that  they  will  pay  no  attention  whatever 
to  them ;  a  greater  instance  than  which,  of  the  indulgent  dis- 
position of  the  gods  towards  us,  cannot  be  found. 

And  then  besides,  in  the  laws  themselves  of  the  Twelve 
Tables,  do  we  not  read  the  following  words — "Whosoever  shall 
have  enchanted  the  harvest,"32  and  in  another  place,  "  Whoso- 
ever shall  have  used  pernicious  incantations"?33  VerriusFlac- 
cus  cites  authors  whom  he  deems  worthy  of  credit,  to  show 
that  on  the  occasion  of  a  siege,  it  was  the  usage,  the  first  thing  of 
all,  for  the  Roman  priests  to  summon  forth  the  tutelary  divinity 
of  that  particular  town,  and  to  promise  him  the  same  rites,  or 
even  a  more  extended  worship,  at  Rome ;  and  at  the  present  day 
even,  this  ritual  still  forms  part  of  the  discipline  of  our  pontiffs. 

29  Ajasson  thinks  that  there  is  an  equivoque  here  upon  the  word  '*  tern- 
plum,"  which  signified  not  only  a  building,  but  certain  parts  of  the  heavens, 
and  corresponding  lines  traced  on  the  earth  by  the  augur's  staff. 

30  This  story  is  mentioned  by  Plutarch,  in  the  Life  of  Publicola. 

31  In  which  case  it  was  considered  necessary  to  repeat  the  words,    "  Ac- 
cipio  omen,"  "  I  accept  the  omen." 

a3  "Qui  fruges  excantassit." 

33  "  Q,ui  nialum  carmen  incantassit." 

282  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Rook  XXVIII. 

Hence  it  is,  no  doubt,  that  the  name 34  of  the  tutelary  deity  of 
Rome  has  been  so  strictly  kept  concealed,  lest  any  of  our  enemies 

should  act  in  a  similar  manner.    There  is  no  one,  too,  who  does 

[  not  dread  being  spell-bound  by  means  of  evil  imprecations  ;35  and 
hence  the  practice,  after  eating  eggs  or  snails,  of  immedi- 
ately breaking36  the  shells,  or  piercing  them  with  the  spoon. 
Hence,  too,  those  love- sick  imitations  of  enchantments  which 
we  find  described  by  Theocritus  among  the  Greeks,  and  by 
Catullus,  and  more  recently,  Virgil,37  among  our  own  writers. 
Many  persons  are  fully  persuaded  that  articles  .of  pottery  may 
be  broken  by  a  similar  agency ;  and  not  a  few  are  of  opinion 
even  that  serpents  can  counteract  incantations,  and  that  this  is 
the  only  kind  of  intelligence  they  possess-^-so  much  so,  in  fact, 
that  by  the  agency  of  the  magic  spells  of  the  Marsi,  they  may 
be  attracted  to  one  spot,  even  when  asleep  in  the  middle  of  the 
night.  *  Some  people  go  so  far,  too,  as  to  write  certain  words38 
on  the  walls  of  houses,  deprecatory  of  accident  by  fire. 

But  it  is  not  easy  to  say  whether  the  outlandish  and  unpro- 
nounceable words  that  are  thus  employed,  or  the  Latin  ex- 
pressions that  are  used  at  random,  and  which  must  appear 
ridiculous  to  our  judgment,  tend  the  most  strongly  to  stagger 
our  belief — seeing  that  the  human  imagination  is  always  con- 
ceiving something  of  the  infinite,  something  deserving  of  the 
notice  of  the  divinity,  or  indeed,  to  speak  more  correctly,  some- 
thing that  must  command  his  intervention  perforce.  Homer39 
tells  us  that  Ulysses  arrested  the  flow  of  blood  from  a  wound 

34  Ajasson  is  of  opinion  that  this  name  was  either  Favra  or  Fona,  Aeca, 
Flora,  or  Valesia  or  Valentia. 

35  "As  in  saying  thus,  The  Devill  take  thee,  or  The  Ravens  peck  out 
thine  eyes,  or  1  had  rather  see  thee  Pie  peckt,  and  such  like." — Holland. 

36  It  is  a  superstition  still  practised  to  pierce  the  shell  of  an  egg  after 
eating  it,  "  lest  the  witches  should  come."     Holland  gives  the  following 
Note — "  Because  afterwards  no  witches  might  pricke  them  with  a  needle 
in  the  name  and  behalfe  of  those  whom  they  would  hurt  and  mischeefe, 
according  to  the  practice  of  pricking  the  images  of  any  person  in  wax  ; 
used  in  the  witchcraft  of  these  daies."     We  learn  from  Ajasson  that  till 
recently  it  was  considered  a  mark  of  ill-breeding  in  France  not  to  pierce 
the  shell  after  eating  the  egg.     See  also  Brand's  Popular  Antiquities, 
Vol.  III.  p.  19,  John's  Ed.   ^ 

37  See  the  Eighth  Eclogue  of  Virgil. 

38  "  That  is  to  say,  Arse  verse,  out  of  Afranius,  as  Festus  noteth,  which 
in  the  old  Tuscane  language  signifieth,  Averte  ignem,  Put  backe  the  fire." 

•w  Odyss.  xix.  457.  It  is  not  Ulysses,  but  the  sons  of  Autolycus  that  do 
this.  Their  bandages,  however,  were  more  likely  to  be  effectual. 


in  the  thigh,  by  repeating  a  charm  ;  and  Theophrastus40  says 
that  sciatica  may  be  cured  by  similar  means.  Cato41  has 
preserved  a  formula  for  the  cure  of  sprains,  and  M.  Varro  for 
that  of  gout.  The  Dictator  Caesar,  they  say,  having  on  one 
occasion  accidentally  had  a  fall  in  his  chariot,42  was  always  in 
the  habit,  immediately  upon  taking  his  seat,  of  thrice  repeating 
a  certain  formula,  with  the  view  of  ensuring  safety  upon  the 
journey  ;  a  thing  that,  to  my  own  knowledge,  is  done  by  many 
persons  at  the  present  day. 


I  would  appeal,  too,  for  confirmation  on  this  subject,  to  the 
intimate  experience  of  each  individual.  "Why,  in  fact,  upon 
the  first  day  of  the  new  year,  do  we  accost  one  another  with 
prayers  for  good  fortune,43  and,  for  luck's  sake,  wish  each  other 
a  happy  new  year  ?  Why,  too,  upon  the  occasion  of  public 
lustrations,  do  we  select  persons  with  lucky  names,  to  lead  the 
victims  ?  Why,  to  counteract  fascinations,  do  we  Romans 
observe  a  peculiar  form  of  adoration,  in  invoking  the  Nemesis 
of  the  Greeks ;  whose  statue,  for  this  reason,  has  been  placed 
in  the  Capitol  at  Rome,  although  the  goddess  herself  possess 
no  Latin  name  ?44  Why,  when  we  make  mention  of  the  dead, 
do  we  protest  that  we  have  no  wish45  to  impeach  their  good 
name  P46  Why  is  it  that  we  entertain  the  belief  that  for  every 
purpose  odd  numbers  are  the  most  effectual  ;47 — a  thing  that  is 
particularly  observed  with  reference  to  the  critical  days  in 
fevers?  Why  is  it  that,  when  gathering  the  earliest  fruit, 
apples,  OB  pears,  as  the  case  may  be,  we  make  a  point  of  saying 
— "  This  fruit  is  old,  may  other  fruit  be  sent  us  that  is  new  ?  " 
Why  is  it  that  we  salute48  a  person  when  he  sneezes,  an  obser- 
vance which  Tiberius  Caesar,  they  say,  the  most  unsociable  of 
men,  as  we  all  know,  used  to  exact,  when  riding  in  his  chariot 

40  De  Enthusiasmo.  41  See  B.  xvii.  c.  47. 

42  In  passing  along  the  Velabrum,  on  the  occasion  of  his  Gallic  triumph, 
the  axle  of  the  carriage  having  broke. 

43  See  Ovid's  Fasti,  B.  i.   1.  175,  et  seq.,  and  Epist.  de  Ponto.  B.  iv. 
EL  4.  1.  23,  et  seq. 

44  See  B.  xi.  c.  103. 

45  Hence  the  saying,  "  De  mortuis  nil  nisi  bonura." 

46  "  Defunctorum  memoriam  a  nobis  non  sollieitari." 

47  It  is  still  a  saying,  and  perhaps  a  belief,  that    "  There  is  luck  in 
odd  numbers." 

48  This  has  been  a  practice  from  the  earliest  times  to  the  present  day. 
See  Brand's  Popular  Antiquities,  Vol.  III.  p.  123,  £ohn's  Ed. 

284  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVIII. 

even  ?  Some  there  are,  too,  who  think  it  a  point  religiously 
to  be  observed  to  mention  the  name  as  well  of  the  person  whom 
they  salute. 

And  then,  besides,  it  is  a  notion49  universally  received,  that 
absent  persons  have  warning  that  others  are  speaking  of  them, 
by  the  tingling  of  the  ears.  Attalus50  assures  us,  that  if  a 
person,  the  moment  he  sees  a  scorpion,  says  "  Duo,"51  the  rep- 
tile will  stop  short,  and  forbear  to  sting.  And  now  that  I  am 
speaking  of  the  scorpion,  I  recall  to  mind  that  in  Africa  no  one 
ever  undertakes  any  matter  without  prefacing  with  the  word 
"  Africa ;"  while  in  other  countries,  before  an  enterprise  is 
commenced,  it  is  the  practice  to  adjure  the  gods  that  they 
will  manifest  their  good  will. 

In  addition  to  this,  it  is  very  clear  that  there  are  some 
religious  observances,  unaccompanied  by  speech,  which  are 
considered  to  be  productive  of  certain  effects.  Thus,52  when 
we  are  at  table,  for  instance,  it  is  the  universal  practice,  we 
see,  to  take  the  ring  from  off  the  finger.  Another  person, 
again,  will  take  some  spittle  from  his  mouth  and  place  it  with 
hj|  finger  behind  the  ear,  to  propitiate  and  modify  disquietude 
oraiind.  When  we  wish  to  signify  applause,  we  have  a  proverb 
even  which  tells  us  we  should  press  the  thumbs.53  When  pay- 
ing adoration,  we  kiss  the  right  hand,  and  turn  the  whole 
body  to  the  right :  while  the  people  of  the  Gallic  provinces,  on 
the  contrary,  turn  to  the  left,  and  believe  that  they  show 
.mere  devoutness  by  so  doing.  To  salute  summer  lightning 
with  clapping  of  the  hands,  is  the  universal  practice  with  all 
nations.  If,  when  eating,  we  happen  to  make  mention  of  a 
fire  that  has  happened,  we  avert  the  inauspicious  omen  by  pour- 
ing water  beneath  the  table.  To  sweep  the  floor  at  the  moment 
that  a  person  is  rising  from  table,  or  to  remove  the  table 
or  tray,64  as  the  case  may  be,  while  a  guest  is  drinking,  is 
looked  upon  as  a  most  unfortunate  presage.  There  is  a  treatise, 

49  In  France  and  England,  at  the  present  day,  this  notion,  or  rather,  per- 
haps, the  memory  of  it,  is  universally  to  be  found.     If  the  right  ear  tingles, 
some  one  is  speaking  well  of  us  ;  if  the  left  ear,  the  reverse. 

50  King  Attalus  Philometor.     See  end  of  B.  viii. 
si  "Two." 

52  This  passage,  it  is  pretty  clear,  ought  to  follow  the  preceding  one, 
though  in  the  Latin  it  is  made  to  precede. 

53  The  thumb  was  turned  upwards  as  a  mark  of  favour,  downwards,  as 
a  mark  of  disfavour.  64  **  Repositorium." 


written  by  Servius  Sulpicitis,  a  man  of  the  highest  rank,  in 
which  reasons  are  given  why  we  should  never  leave  the  tahle 
we  are  eating  at ;  for  in  his  day  it  was  not  yet55  the  practice  to 
reckon  more  tables  than  guests  at  an  entertainment.  Where  a 
person  has  sneezed,  it  is  considered  highly  ominous  for  the 
dish  or  table  to  be  brought  back  again,  and  not  a  taste  thereof 
to  be  taken,  after  doing  so ;  the  same,  too,  where  a  person  at 
table  eats  nothing  at  all. 

These  usages  have  been  established  by  persons  who  enter- 
tained a  belief  that  the  gods  are  ever  present,  in  all  our  affairs 
and  at  all  hours,  and  who  have  therefore  found  the  means  of  ap- 
peasing them  by  our  vices  even.  It  has  been  remarked,  too, 
that  there  is  never  a  dead  silence  on  a  sudden  among  the  guests 
at  table,  except  when  there  is  an  even  number  present ;  when 
this  happens,  too,  it  is  a  sign  that  the  good  name  and  repute  of 
every  individual  present  is  in  peril.  In  former  times,  when 
food  fell  from  the  hand  of  a  guest,  it  was  the  custom  to  return 
it  by  placing  it  on  the  table,  and  it  was  forbidden56  to  blow 
upon  it,  for  the  purpose  of  cleansing  it.  Auguries,  too,  have  bet  n 
derived  from  the  words  or  thoughts  of  a  person  at  the  mom^t 
such  an  accident  befalls  him  ;  and  it  is  looked  upon  as  one  of 
the  most  dreadful  of  presages,  if  this  should  happen  to: 
while  celebrating  the  feast  of  Dis.67  The  proper  expiati< 
such  a  case  is,  to  have  the  morsel  replaced  on  table, 
burnt  in  honour  of  the  Lar.58  Medicines,  it  is  said,  will  prove 
ineffectual,  if  they  happen  to  have  been  placed  on  a  table  before 
they  are  administered.  It  is  religiously  believed  by  many, 
that  it  is  ominous  in  a  pecuniary  point  of  view,  for  a  person  to 
pare  his  nails  without  speaking,  on  the  market  days59  at  Home, 
or  to  begin  at  the  forefinger60  in  doing  so  :  it  is  thought,  too, 

55  It  was  not  yet  the  custom  to  bring  in  several  courses,  each  served  up 
on  a  separate  table. 

50  Good  manners  possibly,  more  than  superstition,  may  have  introduced 
this  practice. 

57  Or  Pluto.      He  alludes  to  the  Feralia,  or  feasts  celebrated,  in  the 
month  of  February,  in  honour  of  the  dead. 

58  Or  household  god. 

59  The  "Nundinae,"  held  every  ninth  day;  or  rather  every  eighth  day, 
according  to  our  mode  of  reckoning. 

60  Gronovius  suggests  a  reading  which  would  make  this  to  mean  that  it 
is  ;;  ominous  to  touch  money  with  the  forefinger."     It  does  not  appear  to 
be  warranted,  however. 

>n  as  one  01 
to  a  pontiff, 
expiation  in  V\\ 
e,  and  then    ;r* 

286  PLINY' o  NATUKAL  HISTOEY,        [Book  XXVIII. 

to  be  a  preventive  of  baldness  and  of  head- ache,  to  cut  the  hair 
on  the  seventeenth  and  twenty-ninth60  days  of  the  moon. 

A  rural  law  observed  in  most  of  the  farms  of  Italy,  forbids6* 
women  to  twirl  their  distaffs,  or  even  to  carry  them  uncovered, 
while  walking  in  the  public  roads ;  it  being  a  thing  so  pre- 
judicial to  all  hopes  and  anticipations,  those  of  a  good  harvest63 
iu  particular.  It  is  not  so  long  ago,  that  M.  Servilius 
Nonianus,  the  principal  citizen  at  Rome,63  being  apprehensive 
of  ophthalmia,  had  a  paper,  with  the  two  Greek  letters  P  and 
A64  written  upon  it,  wrapped  in  linen  and  attached  to  his  neck, 
before  he  would  venture  to  name  the  malady,  and  before  any 
other  person  had  spoken  to  him  about  it.  Mucianus,  too,  who 
was  thrice  consul,  following  a  similar  observance,  carried  about 
him  a  living  fly,  wrapped  in  a  piece  of  white  linen ;  and  it 
was  strongly  asserted,  by  both  of  them,  that  to  the  use  of  these 
expedients  they  owed  their  preservation  from  ophthalmia. 
There  are  in  existence,  also,  certain  charms  against  hail- storms, 
diseases  of  various  kinds,  and  burns,  some  of  which  have  been 
proved,  by  actual  experience,  to  be  effectual;  but  so  great  is  the 
diversity  of  opinion  upon  them,  that  I  am  precluded  by  a 
feeling  of  extreme  diffidence  from  entering  into  further  par- 
ticulars, and  must  therefore  leave  each  to  form  his  own  con- 
clusions as  he  may  feel  inclined. 



We  have  already,65  when  speaking  of  the  singular  peculiar- 
ities of  various  nations,  made  mention  of  certain  men  of  a 
monstrous  nature,  whose  gaze  is  endowed  with  powers  of 
fascination ;  and  we  have  also  described  properties  belonging  to 
numerous  animals,  which  it  would  be  superfluous  here  to  repeat. 
In  some  men,  the  whole  of  the  body  is  endowed  with  remark- 
able properties,  as  in  those  families,  for  instance,  which  are  a 
terror  to  serpents ;  it  being  in  their  power  to  cure  persons 
when  stung,  either  by  the  touch  or  by  a  slight  suction  of  the 
wound.  To  this  class  belong  the  Psylli,  the  Marsi,  and  the  people 

60*  Twenty-eighth,  according  to  our  reckoning. 

61  Probably  from  their  ominous  resemblance  to  the  Parcae,  or  Fates,  with 
their  spindles,  62  "Frugum." 

63  "  Princeps  civitatis."  64  "Bho"  and  "Alpha." 

65  In  B.  vii.  c.  2.* 

Chap.  6.]  EEMEDIES   DEBITED    FROM    MAIN".  287 

called  "  Ophiogenes,"66  in  the  Isle  of  Cyprus.  One  Euagon, 
a  member  of  this  family,  while  attending  upon  a  deputation  at 
Kome,  was  thrown  by  way  of  experiment,  by  order  of  the  con- 
suls, into  a  large  vessel67  filled  with  serpents ;  upon  which, 
to  the  astonishment  of  all,  they  licked  his  body  all  over  with 
their  tongues.  One  peculiarity  of  this  family — if  indeed  it  is 
still  in  existence — is  the  strong  offensive  smell  which  proceeds 
from  their  body  in  the  spring  ;  their  sweat,  too,  no  less  than 
their  spittle,  was  possessed  of  remedial  virtues.  The  people 
who  are  born  at  Tentyris,  an  island  in  the  river  Nilus,  are 
so  formidable68  to  the  crocodiles  there,  that  their  voice  even  is 
sufficient  to  put  them  to  flight.  The  presence  even,  it  is  well 
known,  of  all  these  different  races,  will  suffice  for  the  cure  of 
injuries  inflicted  by  the  animals  to  which  they  respectively 
have  an  antipathy ;  just  in  the  same  way  that  wounds  are- 
irritated  by  the  approach  of  persons  who  have  been  stung  by 
a  serpent  at  some  former  time,  or  bitten  by  a  dog.  Such 
persons,  too,  by  their  presence,  will  cause  the  eggs  upon  which 
a  hen  is  sitting  to  be  addled,  and  will  make  pregnant  cattle  " 
cast  their  young  and  miscarry;  for,  in  fact,  so  much  of 
the  venom  remains  in  their  body,  that,  from  being  poisoned 
themselves,  they  become  poisonous  to  other  creatures.  The 
proper  remedy  in  such  case  is  first  to  make  them  wash  their 
hands,  and  then  to  sprinkle  with  the  water  the  patient  who  is 
under  medical  treatment.  When,  again,  persons  have  been 
once  stung  by  a  scorpion  they  will  never  afterwards  be  attacked 
by  hornets,  wasps,  or  bees :  a  fact  at  which  a  person  will  be 
the  less  surprised  when  he  learns  that  a  garment  which  has 
been  worn  at  a  funeral  will  never  be  touched  by  moths  ;69  that 
it  is  hardly  possible  to  draw  serpents  from  their  holes  except 
by  using  the  left  hand ;  and  that,  of  the  discoveries  made  by 
Pythagoras,  one  of  the  most  unerring,  is  the  fact,  that  in  the 
name  given  to  infants,  an  odd  number  of  vowels  is  portentous 
of  lameness,  loss  of  eyesight,  or  similar  accidents,  on70  the  right 

66  In  B.  vii.  c.  2,  he  speaks  of  these  people — "  the  serpent-born" — as 
natives  of  Parium,  a  town  of  the  Hellespont.     Ajasson  suggests  that  they 
may  have  been  a  branch  of  the  Thamirades,  a  sacerdotal  family  of  Cyprus. 

67  "  Dolium."  es  see  B.  viii.  c.  38. 

69  Ajasson  has  thought  it  worth  while  to  contradict  this  assertion. 

70  Meaning,  of  course,  in  case  such  an  accident  should  befall  the  party. 
The  passage  appears,  however,  to  be  corrupt. 

288  FLINT'S  NATTTKAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVIII. 

side  of  the  body,  and  an  even  number  of  vowels  of  the  like 
infirmities  on  the  left. 

(4.)  It  is  said,  that  if  a  person  takes  a  stone  or  other  missile 
which  has  slain  three  living  creatures,  a  man,  a  boar,  and  a 
bear,  at  three  blows,  and  throws  it  over  the  roof  of  a  house 
in  which  there  is  a  pregnant  woman,  her  delivery,  however 
difficult,  will  be  instantly  accelerated  thereby.  In  such  a  case, 
too,  a  successful  result  will  be  rendered  all  the  more  probable, 
if  a  light  infantry  lance71  is  used,  which  has  been  drawn  from 
a  man's  body  without  touching  the  earth ;  indeed,  if  it  is 
brought  into  the  house  it  will  be  productive  of  a  similar  result. 
In  the  same  way,  too,  we  find  it  stated  in  the  writings  of 
Orpheus  and  Archelaiis,  that  arrows,  drawn  from  a  human 
body  without  being  allowed  to  touch  the  ground,  and  placed 
beneath  the  bed,  will  have  all  the  effect  of  a  philtre ;  and, 
what  is  even  more  than  this,  that  it  is  a  cure  for  epilepsy  if 
the  patient  eats  the  flesh  of  a  wild  beast  killed  with  an  iron 
weapon  with  which  a  human  being  has  been  slain. 

Some  individuals,  too,  are  possessed  of  medicinal  properties 
in  certain  parts  of  the  body ;  the  thumb  of  King  Pyrrhus,  for 
instance,  as  already72  mentioned.  At  Elis,  there  used  to 
be  shown  one  of  the  ribs73  of  Pelops,  which,  it  was  generally 
asserted,  was  made  of  ivory.  At  the  present  day  even,  there 
are  many  persons,  who  from  religious  motives  will  never  clip 
the  hair  growing  upon  a  mole  on  the  face. 


But  it  is  the  fasting  spittle  of  a  human  being,  that  is,  as 
already n  stated  by  us,  the  sovereign  preservative  against  the 
poison  of  serpents;  while,  at  the  same  time,  our  daily  experience 
may  recognize  its  efficacy  and  utility,75  in  many  other  respects. 
We  are  in  the  habit  of  spitting,76  for  instance,  as  a  preservative 
from  epilepsy,  or  in  other  words,  we  repel  contagion  thereby : 

71  "Hasta  velitaris."  72  In  B.  vii.  c.  2. 

73  It  is  the  shoulder-blade  of  Pelops  that  is  generally  mentioned  in  the 
ancient  Mythology.  Pliny  omits  to  say  of  what  medicinal  virtues  it  was 
possessed.  74  In  B.  vii.  c.  2. 

75  It  certainly  does  seem  to  be  possessed  of  some  efficacy  for  the  removal 
of  spots  and  stains,  but  for  no  other  purpose  probably. 

76  In  some  parts  of  France,  the  peasants  spit  in  the  hand  when  in  terror 
of  spectjres  at  night.     In  our  country,  prize-fighters  spit  in  the  hand  before 
beginning  the  combat,  and  costermongers  spit  on  their  morning's  handsel, 
or  first  earned  money,  for  good  luck. 

Chap.  7.]  PROPERTIES    OF    TliE    HUMAN    SPITTLE.  289 

in  a  similar  manner,  too,  we  repel  fascinations,  and  the  evil 
presages  attendant  upon  meeting  a  person  who  is  lame  in  the 
right  leg.  We  ask  pardon  of  the  gods,  by  spitting  in 77  the 
lap,  for  entertaining  some  too  presumptuous  hope  or  expecta- 
tion.78 On  the  same  principle,  it  is  the  practice  in  all  cases 
where  medicine  is  employed,  to  spit  three  times  on  the  ground, 
and  to  conjure  the  malady  as  often  ;  the  object  being  to  aid  the 
operation  of  the  remedy  employed.  It  is  usual,  too,  to  mark 
a  boil,  when  it  first  makes  its  appearance,  three  times  with 
fasting79  spittle.  What  we  are  going  to  say  is  marvellous, 
but  it  may  easily  be  tested  M  by  experiment :  if  a  person  re- 
pents of  a  blow  given  to  another,  either  by  hand  or  with  a 
missile,  he  has  nothing  to  do  but  to  spit  at  once  into  the  palm 
of  the  hand  which  has  inflicted  the  blow,  and  all  feelings 8l  of 
resentment  will  be  instantly  alleviated  in  the  person  struck. 
This,  too,  is  often  verified  in  the  case  of  a  beast  of  burden, 
when  brought  on  its  haunches  with  blows;  for  upon  this  remedy 
being  adopted,  the  animal  will  immediately  step  out  and  mend 
its  pace.  Some  persons,  however,  before  making  an  effort,  spit 
into  the  hand  in  manner  above  stated,  in  order  to  make  the 
blow  more  heavy.82 

We  may  well  believe,  then,  that  lichens  and  leprous  spots 
may  be  removed  by  a  constant  application  of  fasting  spittle  ; 
that  ophthalmia  may  be  cured  by  anointing,  as  it  were,  the 
eyes  every  morning  with  fasting  spittle  ;  that  carcinomata 
may  be  effectually  treated,  by  kneading  the  root  of  the  plant 
known  as  "apple  of  the  earth,"83  with  human  spittle;  that 
crick  in  the  neck  may  be  got  rid  of  by  carrying  fasting  spittle 
to  the  right  knee  with  the  right  hand,  and  to  the  left  knee 
with  the  left ;  and  that  when  an  insect  has  got  into  the  ear,  it 

77  "In  sinum."  78  See  Juvenal,  Sat.  v.  1.  112. 

79  Ajasson  remarks  that  the  human  spittle  contains  hydrochlorate  of 
soda  and  potash ;  the  remedial  virtues  of  which,  however,  would  be  in- 
finitely small. 

80  A  quibble,  Ajasson  remarks.      Did  Pliny  ever  test  it  himself?     He 
would  seem  to  imply  it. 

81  "  Levatur  illico  in  percusso  culpa." 

82  This  is  still  the  case  with  pugilists,  and  persons  requiring  to  use  strong 
exertion.     It  is  based,  however,  on  a  mere  superstition,  as  Ajasson  remarks. 

83  "  Malum  terrae."      See  B.  xxv.  c.   54,  and  B.  xxvi.  c.  56.      Littre 
translates  *'  malum,"  "  apple,"  in  the  former  passage ;    but  here  he  calls  it 
44  curse  of  the  earth." 

VOL.  V.  U 

290  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVIII. 

is  quite  sufficient  to  spit  into  that  organ,  to  make  it  come  out. 
Among  the  counter-charms  too,  are  reckoned,  the  practice  of 
spitting  into  the  urine  the  moment  it  is  voided,  of  spitting  into 
the  shoe  of  the  right  foot  hefore  putting  it  on,  and  of  spitting 
while  a  person  is  passing  a  place  in  which  he  has  incurred  any 
kind  of  peril. 

Marcion  of  Smyrna,  who  has  written  a  work  on  the  virtues 
of  simples,  informs  us  that  the  sea  scolopendra  will  burst 
asunder  if  spit  upon ;  and  that  the  same  is  the  case  with  bram- 
ble-frogs,84 arid  other  kinds  of  frogs.  Opilius  says  that  serpents 
will  do  the  same,  if  a  person  spits  into  their  open  mouth  ;  and 
Salpe  tells  us,  that  when  any  part  of  the  body  is  asleep,  the 
numbness  may  be  got  rid  of  by  the  person  spitting  into  his 
lap,  or  touching  the  upper  eyelid  with  his  spittle.  If  we  are 
ready  to  give  faith  to  such  statements  as  these,  we  must  be- 
lieve also  in  the  efficacy  of  the  following  practices  :  upon  the 
entrance  of  a  stranger,  or  when  a  person  looks  at  an  infant 
while  asleep,  it  is  usual  for  the  nurse  to  spit  three  times  upon 
the  ground  ;  and  this,  although  infants  are  under  the  especial 
guardianship  of  the  god  Fascinus,85  the  protector,  not  of  infants 
only,  but  of  generals  as  well,  and  a  divinity  whose  worship  is 
entrusted  to  the  Yestal  virgins,  and  forms  part  of  the  Roman 
rites.  It  is  the  image  of  this  divinity  that  is  attached  beneath 
the  triumphant  car  of  the  victorious  general,  protecting  him, 
like  some  attendant  physician,  against  the  effects  of  envy  ;86 
while,  at  the  same  time,  equally  salutary  is  the  advice  of  the 
tongue,  which  warns  him  to  be  wise  in  time,87  that  so  Fortune 

84  "Rubetas."      See  B.  viii.  c.  48,  B.  xi.  cc.  19,  76,  and  116,  and  B. 
xxv.  c.  76. 

85  This   divinity   was   identical    with   Mutinus    or  Tutinrs,    and   was 
worshipped  under  the  form  of  a  phallus,   the  male  generative  organ.     As 
the  guardian  of  infants,  his  peculiar  form  is  still  unconsciously  represented 
in  the  shape  of  the  coral  bauble  with  which  infants  are  aided  in  cutting 
their  teeth. 

b6  Hence  the  expression  "  prsefiscini,"  "  Be  it  said  without  envy,"  sup- 
posed to  avert  the  effects  of  the  envious  eye,  fascination,  or  enchantment. 

7  "  Resipiscere  "  seems  to  be  a  preferable  reading  to  "respicere,"  adopted 
by  Sillig.  This  passage  is  evidently  in  a  very  corrupt  state  ;  but  it  is  most 
probable  that  reference  is  made  to  the  attendant  who  stood  behind  the 
general  in  his  triumph,  and  reminded  him  that  he  was  a  man — or,  according 
to  Tzetzes,  bade  him  look  behind  him.  Pliny  speaks  of  a  servant  attending 
the  triumphant  general,  with  a  golden  crown,  in  B.  xxxiii.  c.  4.  liardouiii 
attempts  another  explanation,  but  a  very  confused  and  improbable  one. 

Chap.  9.]         REMEDIES  DEBITED  FROM  THE  HUMAN  HAIR.       2^1 

may  be  prevailed  upon  by  his  prayers,   not  to  follow,  as  the 
destroyer  of  his  glory,  close  upon  his  back. 



The  human  bite  is  also  looked  upon  as  one  of  the  most  dan- 
gerous of  all.  The  proper  remedy  for  it  is  human  ear-wax  : 
a  thing  that  \ve  must  not  be  surprised  at,  seeing  that,  if  ap- 
plied immediately,  it  is  a  cure  for  the  stings  of  scorpions  even, 
and  serpents.  The  best,  however,  for  this  purpose,  is  thai 
taken  from  the  ears  of  the  wounded  person.  Agnails,  too, 
it  is  said,  may  be  cured  in  a  similar  manner.  A  human  tooth, 
reduced  to  powder,  is  a  cure,  they  say,  for  the  sting  of  a  ser- 



The  first  hair,  it  is  said,  that  is  cut  from  an  infant's  head, 
and,  in  fact,  the  hair  of  all  persons  that  have  not  reached  the 
age  of  puberty,  attached  to  the  limbs,  will  modify  the  attacks 
of  gout.  A  man's  hair,  applied  with  vinegar,  is  a  cure  for  the 
bite  of  a  dog,  and,  used  with  oil  or  wine,  for  wounds  on  the 
head.  It  is  said,  too,  if  we  choose  to  believe  it,  that  the  hair 
of  a  man  torn  down  from  the  cross,  is  good  for  quartan  fevers. 
Ashes,  too,  of  burnt  human  hair  are  curative  of  carcinomata. 
If  a  woman  takes  the  first  tooth  that  a  child  has  shed,  provided 
it  has  not  touched  the  ground,  and  has  it  set  in  a  bracelet,  and 
wears  it  constantly  upon  her  arm,  it  will  preserve  her  from 
all  pains  in  the  uterus  and  adjacent  parts.  If  the  great  toe 
is  tied  fast  to  the  one  next  to  it,  it  will  reduce  tumours  in  the 
groin  ;  and  if  the  two  middle  fingers  of  the  right  hand  are 
slightly  bound  together  with  a  linen  thread,  it  will  act  as  a 
preservative  against  catarrhs  and  ophthalmia.  A  stone,  it  is 
said,  that  has  been  voided  by  a  patient  suffering  from  calculi, 
if  attached  to  the  body  above  the  pubes,  will  alleviate  the 
pains  of  others  similarly  afflicted,  as  well  as  pains  in  the  liver  ; 
it  will  have  the  effect,  also,  of  facilitating  delivery.  Granius8*5 
adds,  however,  that  for  this  last  purpose,  the  stone  will  be  more 
efficacious  if  it  has  been  extracted  with  the  knife.  Delivery, 
when  near  at  hand,  will  be  accelerated,  if  the  man  by  whom 
88  See  end  of  the  present  Book. 

U  2 

292  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTOKY.          [Book  XXVIII. 

the  woman  has  conceived,  unties  his  girdle,  and,  after  tying  it 
round  her,  unties  it,  adding  at  the  same  time  this  formula,  "  I 
have  tied  it,  and  I  will  untie  it,"  and  then  taking  his  de- 



The  hlood  of  the  human  body,  come  from  what  part  it  may, 
is  most  efficacious,  according  to  Orpheus  and  Archelaiis,  as  an 
application  for  quinzy  :  they  say,  too,  that  if  it  is  applied  to 
the  mouth  of  a  person  who  has  fallen  down  in  a  fit  of  epilepsy, 
he  will  come  to  himself  immediately.  Some  say  that,  for 
epilepsy,  the  great  toes  should  be  pricked,  and  the  drops  of 
blood  that  exude  therefrom  applied  to  the  face ;  or  else,  that  a 
virgin  should  touch  the  patient  with  her  right  thumb — a  cir- 
cumstance that  has  led  to  the  belief  that  persons  suffering  from 
epilepsy  should  eat  the  flesh  of  animals  in  a  virgin  state. 
^Eschines  of  Athens  used  to  cure  quinzy,  carcinoma,  and  affec- 
tions of  the  tonsillary  glands  and  uvula,  with  the  ashes  of 
burnt  excrements,  a  medicament  to  which  he  gave  the  name 
of  "  botryon."89 

There  are  many  kinds  of  diseases  which  disappear  entirely 
after  the  first  sexual  congress,90  or,  in  the  case  of  females,  at  the 
first  appearance  of  menstruation;  indeed,  if  such  is  not  the 
case,  they  are  apt  to  become  chronic,  epilepsy  in  particular. 
Even  more  than  this — a  man,  it  is  said,  who  has  been  stung 
by  a  serpent  or  scorpion,  experiences  relief  from  the  sexual 
congress ;  but  the  woman,  on  the  other  hand,  is  sensible  of 
detriment.  We  are  assured,  too,  that  if  persons,  when  washing 
their  feet,  touch  the  eyes  three  times  with  the  water,  they  will 
never  be  subject  to  ophthalmia  or  other  diseases  of  the  eyes. 


Scrofula,  imposthumes  of  the  parotid  glands,  and  throat 
diseases,  thejr  say,  may  be  cured  by  the  contact  of  the  hand  of 
a  person  who  has  been  carried  off  by  an  early  death  :  indeed 
there  are  some  who  assert  that  any  deac^body  will  produce  the 
same  effect,  provided  it  is  of  the  same  sex  as  the  patient,  and 

89  Properly  meaning  "a  cluster  of  grapes." 

90  Ajasson  remarks  that  there  is  a  considerable  degree  of  truth  in  this 
assertion.     He  gives  a  long  list  of  French  works  on  the  subject. 

Chap.  12.]        EEVEBIES  AND  DEVICES  OF  THE  MAGICIANS.       293 

that  the  part  affected  is  touched  with  the  back  of  the  left 
hand.91  To  bite  off  a  piece  from  wood  that  has  been  struck 
by  lightning,  the  hands  being  held  behind  the  back,  and  then 
to  apply  it  to  the  tooth,  is  a  sure  remedy,  they  say,  for  tooth- 
ache. Some  persons  recommend  the  tooth  to  be  fumigated 
with  the  smoke  of  a  burnt  tooth,  which  has  belonged  to  another 
person  of  the  same  sex ;  or  else  to  attach  to  the  person  a  dog- 
tooth, as  it  is  called,  which  has  been  extracted  from  a  body 
before  burial.  Earth,  they  say,  taken  from  out  of  a  human 
skull,  acts  as  a  depilatory  to  the  eyelashes ;  it  is  asserted,  also, 
that  any  plant  which  may  happen  to  have  grown  there,  it' 
chewed,  will  cause  the  teeth  to  come  out ;  and  that  if  a  circle- 
is  traced  round  an  ulcer  with  a  human  bone,  it  will  be  effec- 
tually prevented  from  spreading. 

Some  persons,  again,  mix  water  in  equal  proportions  from 
three  different  wells,  and,  after  making  a  libation  with  part  of 
it  in  a  new  earthen  vessel,  administer  the  rest  to  patients  suf- 
fering from  tertian  fever,  when  the  paroxysms  come  on.  So, 
too,  in-  cases  of  quartan  fever,  they  take  a  fragment  of  a  nail 
from  a  cross,  or  else  a  piece  of  a  halter 92  that  has  been  used 
for  crucifixion,  and,  after  wrapping  it  in  wool,  attach  it  to  the 
patient's  neck;  taking  care,  the  moment  he  has  recovered,  to 
conceal  it  in  some  hole  to  which  the  light  of  the  sun  cannot 


The  following  are  some  of  the  reveries  of  magic.93  A  whet- 
stone upon  which  iron  tools  have  been  frequently  sharpened, 
if  put,  without  his  being  aware  of  it,  beneath  the  pillow  of  a 
person  sinking  under  the  effects  of  poison,  will  make  him  give 
evidence  and  declare  what  poison  has  been  administered,  and 
at  what  time  and  place,  though  at  the  same  time  he  will  not 
disclose  the  author  of  the  crime.  When  a  person  has  been 
struck  by  lightning,  if  the  body  is  turned  upon  the  side  which 
has  sustained  the  injury,  he  will  instantly  recover  the  power 

91  This  superstition  still  exists  among  the  lower  classes  of  this  country, 
with  reference  to  the  beneficial  effects  of  stroking  neck  diseases  with  tie 
hand  of  a  man  who  has  been  hanged. 

93  Made  of  "  spartum."     See  B.  xix.  cc.  6,  7. 

s3  Of  which  the  Persian  Magi  were  the  most  noted  professors. 

294  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVIII. 

of  speech — that  is  quite  certain.94  For  the  cure  of  inguinal 
tumours,  some  persons  take  the  thrum  of  an  old  web,  and  after 
tying  seven  or  nine  knots  in  it,  mentioning  at  each  knot  the 
name  of  some  widow  woman  or  other,  attach  it  to  the  part 
affected.  To  assuage  the  pain  of  a  wound,  they  recommend 
the  party  to  take  a  nail  or  any  other  substance  that  has  been 
trodden  under  foot,  and  to  wear  it,  attached  to  the  body  with 
the  thrum  of  a  web.  ;  To  get  rid  of  warts,  some  lie  in  a 
footpath  with  the  face  upwards,  when  the  moon  is  twenty  days 
old  at  least,  and  after  fixing  their  gaze  upon  it,  extend  their 
arms  above  the  head,  and  rub  themselves  with  anything 
within  their  reach.  If  a  person  is  extracting  a  corn  at  the 
moment  that  a  star  shoots,  he  will  experience  an  immediate 
cure,95  they  say.  By  pouring  vinegar  upon  the  hinges  of  a 
'  door,  a  thick  liniment  is  formed,  which,  applied  to  the  fore- 
head, will  alleviate  headache  :  an  effect  equally  produced,  we 
are  told,  by  binding  the  temples  with  a  halter  with  which  a. 
man  has  been  hanged.  When  a  fish-bone  happens  to  stick  in 
the  throat,  it  will  go  down  immediately,  if  the  person  plunges 
his  feet  into  cold  water ;  but  where  the  accident  has  happened 
with  any  other  kind  of  bone,  the  proper  remedy  is  to  apply 
to  the  head  some  fragments  of  bones  taken  from  the  same  dish. 
In  cases  where  bread  has  stuck  in  the  throat,  the  best  plan  is 
to  take  some  of  the  same  bread,  and  insert  it  in  both  ears. 


In  Greece,  where  everything  is  turned  to  account,  the 
owners  of  the  gymnasia  have  introduced  the  very  excretions96 
even  of  the  human  body  among  the  most  efficient  remedies ; 
so  much  so,  indeed,  that  the  scrapings  from  the  bodies  of  the 
athletes  are  looked  upon  as  possessed  of  certain  properties  of 
an  emollient,  calorific,  resolvent,  and  expletive  nature,  re- 
sulting from  the  compound  of  human  sweat  and  oil.  These 
scrapings  are  used,  in  the  form  of  a  pessary,  for  inflammations 
and  contractions  of  the  uterus  :  similarly  employed,  they  act 
as  an  emmenagogue,  and  are  useful  for  reducing  condylomata 
and  inflammations  of  the  rectum,  as  also  for  assuaging  pains 

94  The  "  constat  "  here,  whether  it  belongs  to  the  magicians,  or  to  Pliny 
himself,  is  highly  amusing,  as  Ajasson  remarks. 

95  Sillig  appears  to  be  right   in  his  conjecture  that  the  "vel"  here 
should  be  omitted.  96  See  B.  xv.  c.  5. 

Chap.  14.]        BEMEDIES  DEPENDING-  UPON  THE  WILL.  29.") 

in  the  sinews,  sprains,  and  nodosities  of  the  joints.  The 
scrapings  obtained  from  the  baths  are  still  more  efficacious  for 
these  purposes,  and  hence  it  is  that  they  form  an  ingredient  in 
maturative  preparations.  Such  scrapings  as  are  impregnated 
with  wrestlers'  oil,97  used  in  combination  with  mud,  have  a 
mollifying  effect  upon  the  joints,  and  are  more  particularly 
efficacious  as  a  calorific  and  resolvent ;  but  in  other  respects 
their  properties  are  not  so  strongly  developed. 

The  shameless  and  disgusting  researches  that  have  been 
made  will  quite  transcend  all  belief,  when  we  find  authors  of 
the  very  highest  repute  proclaiming  aloud  that  the  male 
seminal  fluid  is  a  sovereign  remedy  for  the  sting  of  the  scor- 
pion !  In  the  case  too,  of  women  afflicted  with  sterility,  they 
recommend  the  application  of  a  pessary,  made  of  the  first 
excrement  that  is  voided  by  an  infant  at  the  moment  of  its 
birth;  the  name  they  give  it  is  "  meconium."98  They  have 
even  gone  so  far,  too,  as  to  scrape  the  very  filth  from  off  the 
walls  of  the  gymnasia,  and  to  assert  that  this  is  also  possessed 
of  certain  calorific  properties.  These  scrapings  are  used  as  a 
resolvent  for  inflamed  tumours,  and  are  applied  topically  to 
ulcers  upon  aged  people  and  children,  and  to  excoriations  and 


It  would  be  the  less  becoming  then  for  me  to  omit  all 
mention  of  the  remedies  which  depend  upon  the  human  will. 
Total  abstinence  from  food  or  drink,  or  from  wine  only,  from 
flesh,  or  from  the  use  of  the  bath,  in  cases  where  the  health 
requires  any  of  these  expedients,  is  looked  upon  as  one  of  the 
most  effectual  modes  of  treating  diseases.  To  this  class  of 
remedies  must  be  added  bodily  exercise,  exertion  of  the  voice,99 
anointings,  and  frictions  according  to  a  prescribed  method : 
for  powerful  friction,  it  should  be  remembered,  has  a  binding 
effect  upon  the  body,  while  gentle  friction,  on  the  other  hand, 
acts  as  a  laxative ;  so  too,  repeated  friction  reduces  the 
body,  while  used  in  moderation  it  has  a  tendency  to  make 
flesh.  But  the  most  beneficial  practice  of  all  is  to  take  walking 

97  "  Ceroma."     A  mixture  of  oil  and  wax. 

98  Properly,  "  poppy  juice." 

99  Or  "  clara  lectio,"  "reading  aloud,"  as  Celsus  calls  it,  recommending 
it  for  persons  of  slow  digestion. 


or  carriage1  exercise;  this  last  being  performed  in  various  ways. 
Exercise  on  horseback  is  extremely  good  for  affections  of  the 
stomach  and  hips,  a  voyage  for  phthisis,2  and  a  change  of 
locality3  for  diseases  of  long  standing.  So,  too,  a  cure  may 
sometimes  be  effected  by  sleep,  by  a  recumbent  position  in  bed, 
or  by  the  use  of  emetics  in  moderation.  To  lie  upon  the  back 
is  beneficial  to  the  sight,  to  lie  with  the  face  downwards  is 
good  for  a  cough,  and  to  lie  on  the  side  is  recommended  for 
patients  suffering  from  catarrh. 

According  to  Aristotle  and  Fabianus,  it  is  towards  spring  and 
autumn  that  we  are  most  apt  to  dream ;  and  they  tell  us  that 
persons  are  most  liable  to  do  so  when  lying  on  the  back,  but 
never  when  lying  with  the  face  downwards.  Theophrastus 
assures  us  that  the  digestion  is  accelerated  by  lying  on  the 
right  side ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  retarded  by  lying 
with  the  face  upwards.  The  most  powerful,  however,  of  all 
remedies,  and  one  which  is  always  at  a  person's  own  command, 
is  the  sun :  violent  friction,  too,  is  useful  by  the  agency  of 
linen  towels  and  body-scrapers.4  To  pour  warm  water  on  the 
head  before  taking  the  vapour-bath,  and  cold  water  after  it,  is 
looked  upon  as  a  most  beneficial  practice ;  so,  too,  is  the  habit 
of  taking  cold  water  before  food,  of  drinking  it  every  now  and 
then  while  eating,  of  taking  it  just  before  going  to  sleep,  and, 
if  practicable,  of  waking  every  now  and  then,  and  taking  a 
draught.  It  is  worthy  also  of  remark,  that  there  is  no  living 
creature  but  man5  that  is  fond  of  hot  drinks,  a  proof  thjat  they 
are  contrary  to  nature.  It  has  been  ascertained  by  experiment, 
that  it  is  a  good  plan  to  rinse  the  mouth  with  undiluted  wine, 
before  going  to  sleep,  for  the  purpose  of  sweetening  the  breath  ; 
to  rinse  the  mouth  with  cold  water  an  odd  number  of  times 
every  morning,  as  a  preservative  against  tooth-ache  ;  and  to 
wash  the  eyes  with  oxycrate,  as  a  preventive  of  ophthalmia. 
It  has  been  remarked  also,  that  the  general  health  is  improved 
by  a  varying  regimen,  subject  to  no  fixed  rules. 

1  "Gestatio."    Exercise  on  horseback,  in  a  carriage  drawn  by  horses, 
or  in  a  litter.     See  B.  xxvi.  c.  7. 

2  See  B.  xxxi.  c.  33.     A  sea  voyage,  to  Madeira,  for  instance,  is  still  re- 
commended for  consumptive  patients. 

3  Change  of  locality  is  still  recommended  for  diseases  of  the  spleen,  as 
they  are  called.  4  "  Strigilium." 

*  Except  monkeys  and  some  domesticated  animals,  Ajasson  remarks. 

Chap.  16.]        KEMEDIES  FROM  THE  SEXUAL  CONGRESS.  297 

(5.)  Hippocrates  informs  us  that  the  viscera  of  persons  who 
do  not  take  the  morning  meal6  become  prematurely  aged  and 
feeble  ;  but  then  he  has  pronounced  this  aphorism,  it  must  be 
remembered,  by  way  of  suggesting  a  healthful  regimen,  and  not 
to  promote  gluttony  ;  for  moderation  in  diet  is,  after  all,  the 
thing  most  conducive  to  health.  L.  Lucullus  gave  charge  to 
one  of  his  slaves  to  overlook  him  in  this  respect ;  and,  a  thing 
that  reflected  the  highest  discredit  on  him,  when,  now  an  aged 
man  and  laden  with  triumphs,  he  was  feasting  in  the  Capitol 
even,  his  hand  had  to  be  removed  from  the  dish  to  which  he 
was  about  to  help  himself.  Surely  it  was  a  disgrace  for  a  man 
to  be  governed  by  his  own  slave7  more  easily  than  by  himself! 


Sneezing,  provoked  by  a  feather,  relieves  heaviness  in  the 
head ;  it  is  said  too,  that  to  touch  the  nostrils  of  a  mule  with 
the  lips,  will  arrest  sneezing  and  hiccup.  For  this  last  pur- 
pose, Yarro  recommends  us  to  scratch  the  palm,  first  of  one 
hand  and  then  of  the  other ;  while  many  say  that  it  is  a  good 
plan  to  shift  the  ring  from  off  the  left  hand  to  the  longest  finger 
of  the  right,  and  then  to  plunge  the  hands  into  hot  water. 
Theophrastus  says,  that  aged  persons  sneeze  with  greater  diffi- 
culty than  others. 


Democritus  spoke  in  condemnation  of  the  sexual  congress,  as8 
being  merely  an  act  through  which  one  human  being  springs  from 
another  ;  and  really,  by  Hercules  !  the  more  rarely  it  is  used 
the  better.  Still  however,  athletes,  we  find,  when  they  become 
dull  and  heavy,  are  re-established  by  it :  the  voice,  too,  is  re- 
stored by  it,  when  from  being  perfectly  clear,  it  has  degenerated 
into  hoarseness.  The  congress  of  the  sexes  is  a  cure  also  for 
pains  in  the  loins,  dimness  of  the  eyesight,9  alienation  of  the 
mental  difficulties,  and  melancholy. 

6  "  Non  prandentium." 

7  Callisthenes  the  physician  is  the  person  supposed  to  be  alluded  to. 
Lucullus  did  not  seem  to  be  of  opinion  that  a  man  "  must  be  a  fool  or  a 
physician  at  forty." 

8  "Ut  in  qua  homo  alius  exsiliret  ex  homine."     The  true  meaning  of 
this  it  seems  impossible,  with  certainty,  to  ascertain :  though  a  more  in- 
delicate one  than  that  given  might  be  easily  suggested. 

9  On  the  contrary,  some  authorities  say  that  it  is  apt  to  cause  dimness  of 

298  PLINY'S  KATUBAL  HISTOEY.         [Book  XXVIII. 


To  sit  by  a  pregnant  woman,  or  by  a  person  to  whom  any 
remedy  is  being  administered,  with  the  fingers  of  one  hand 
inserted  between  those  of  the  other,  acts  as  a  magic  spell;  a 
discovery  that  was  made,  it  is  said,  when  Alcmena10  was 
delivered  of  Hercules.  If  the  fingers  are  thus  joined,  clasping 
one  or  both  knees,  or  if  the  ham  of  one  leg  is  first  put  upon 
the  knee  of  the  other,  and  then  changed  about,  the  omen  is  of 
still  worse  signification.  Hence  it  is,  that  in  councils  held  by 
generals  and  persons  in  authority,  our  ancestors  forbade  these 
postures,  as  being  an  impediment  to  all  business.11  They  have 
given  a  similar  prohibition  also  with  reference  to  sacrifices  and 
the  offering  of  public  vows ;  but  as  to  the  usage  of  uncovering 
the  head  in  presence  of  the  magistrates,  that  has  been  enjoined, 
Varro  says,  not  as  a  mark  of  respect,  but  with  a  view  to 
health,  the  head  being  strengthened12  by  the  practice  of  keeping- 
it  uncovered. 

When  anything  has  got  into  the  eye,  it  is  a  good  plan  to 
close  the  otber ;  and  when  water  has  got  into  the  right  ear, 
the  person  should  hop  about  on  the  left  foot,  with  the  head 
reclining  upon  the  right  shoulder,  the  reverse  being  done 
when  the  same  has  happened  to  the  left  ear.  If  the  secretion 
of  the  phlegm  produces  coughing,  the  best  way  of  stopping  it 
is  for  another  person  to  blow  in  the  party's  face.  When  the 
uvula  is  relaxed,  another  person  should  take  the  patient  with 
his  teeth  by  the  crown,13  and  lift  him  from  the  ground  ;  while 
for  pains  in  the  neck,  the  hams  should  be  rubbed,  and  for 
pains  in  the  hams  the  neck.  If  a  person  is  seized  in  bed  with 
cramp  in  the  sinews  of  the  legs  or  thighs,  he  should  set  his 
feet  upon  the  ground :  so,  too,  if  he  has  cramp  on  the  left 
side,  he  should  take  hold  of  the  great  toe  of  the  left  foot  with 
the  right  hand,  and  if  on  the  right  side,  the  great  toe  of  the 
right  foot  with  the  left  hand.  For  cold  shiverings  or  for 
excessive  bleeding  at  the  nostrils,  the  extremities  of  the  body 
should  be  well  rubbed  with  sheep's  wool.  To  arrest  inconti- 
nence of  urine,  the  extremities  of  the  generative  organs  should 

10  See  Ovid,  Met.  ix.  273,  et  seq. 

11  Much  more  probably,  because  they  were  considered  to  be  significant 
of  anything  but  seriousness  and  attention, 

12  Exemplified  in  the  case  of  the  Egyptians,  Herodotus  says. 

13  The  remedy  would  seem  to  be  worse  than  the  evil. 

Chap.  18.]          REMEDIES   DERIVED    FROM   THE    URINE.  299 

be  tied  with  a  thread  of  linen  or  papyrus,  and  a  binding  passed 
round  the  middle  of  the  thigh.  For  derangement  of  the 
stomach,  it  is  a  good  plan  to  press  the  feet  together,  or  to 
plunge  the  hands  into  hot  water. 

In  addition  to  all  this,  in  many  cases  it  is  found  highly  be- 
neficial to  speak  but  little  ;  thus,  for  instance,  Maacenas  Me- 
lissus,14  we  are  told,  enjoined  silence  on  himself  for  three 
years,  in  consequence  of  spitting  blood  after  a  convulsive  fit. 
When  a  person  is  thrown  from  a  carriage,  or  when,  while 
mounting  an  elevation  or  lying  extended  at  full  length,  he 
is  menaced  with  any  accident,  or  if  he  receives  a  blow,  it  is 
singularly  beneficial  to  hold  the  breath ;  a  discovery  for  which 
we  are  indebted  to  an  animal,  as  already15  stated. 

To  thrust  an  iron  nail  into  the  spot  where  a  person's  head 
lay  at  the  moment  he  was  seized  with  a  fit  of  epilepsy,  is  said 
to  have  the  effect  of  curing  him  of  that  disease.  For  pains  in 
the  kidneys,  loins,  or  bladder,  it  is  considered  highly  soothing 
to  void  the  urine  lying  on  the  face  at  full  length  in  a  reclining 
bath.  It  is  quite  surprising  how  much  more  speedily  wounds 
will  heal  if  they  are  bound  up  and  tied  with  a  Hercules'  knot  :16 
indeed,  it  is  said,  that  if  the  girdle  which  we  wear  every  day 
is  tied  with  a  knot  of  this  description,  it  will  be  productive  of 
certain  beneficial  effects,  Hercules  having  been  the  first  to 
discover  the  fact. 

Demetrius,  in  the  treatise  which  he  has  compiled  upon  the 
number  Four,  alleges  certain  reasons  why  drink  should  never 
be  taken  in  proportions  of  four  cyathi  or  sextarii.  As  a  pre- 
ventive of  ophthalmia,  it  is  a  good  plan  to  rub  the  parts  be- 
hind the  ears,  and,  as  a  cure  for  watery  eyes,  to  rub  the  fore- 
head. As  to  the  presages  which  are  derived  from  man  him- 
self, there  is  one  to  the  effect  that  so  long  as  a  person  is  able 
to  see  himself  reflected  in  the  pupil  of  the  patient's  eye, 
there  need  be  no  apprehension  of  a  fatal  termination  to  the 


The  urine,17  too,  has  been  the  subject  not  only  of  numerous 

14  See  end  of  B.  vii.  15  In  B.  viii.  c.  58. 

16  A  knot  tied  very  hard,  and  in  which  no  ends  were  to  be  seen. 

17  This  excretion  was,  till  lately,  thought  of  great  importance,  as  in- 
dicative of  the  health  of  the  patient. 

300  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.        [Book  XXVIII, 

theories  with  authors,  but  of  various  religious  observances  as 
well,  its  properties  being  classified  under  several  distinctive 
heads :  thus,  for  instance,  the  urine  of  eunuchs,  they  say,  is 
highly  beneficial  as  a  promoter  of  fruitfulness  in  females.  But 
to  turn  to  those  remedies  which  we  may  be  allowed  to  name 
without  impropriety — the  urine  of  children  who  have  not 
arrived  at  puberty  is  a  sovereign  remedy  for  the  poisonous 
secretions  of  the  asp  known  as  the  "  ptyas,"18  from  the  fact 
that  it  spits  its  venom  into  the  eyes  of  human  beings.  It  is 
good,  too,  for  the  cure  of  albugo,  films  and  marks  upon  the 
eyes,  white  specks19  upon  the  pupils,  and  maladies  of  the  eye- 
lids. In  combination  with  meal  of  fitches,  it  is  used  for  the 
cure  of  burns,  and,  with  a  head  of  bulbed  leek,  it  is  boiled 
down  to  one  half,  in  a  new  earthen  vessel,  for  the  treatment  of 
suppurations  of  the  ears,  or  the  extermination  of  worms  breed- 
ing in  those  organs  :  the  vapour,  too,  of  this  decoction  acts  as 
an  emmenagogue.  Salpe  recommends  that  the  eyes  should 
be  fomented  with  it,  as  a  means  of  strengthening  the  sight ; 
and  that  it  should  be  used  as  a  liniment  for  sun  scorches, 
in  combination  with  white  of  egg,  that  of  the  ostrich  being 
the  most  effectual,  the  application  being  kept  on  for  a  couple 
of  hours. 

Urine  is  also  used  for  taking  oat  ink  spots.  Male  urine 
cures  gout,  witness  the  fullers  for  instance,20  who,  for  this 
reason,  it  is  said,  are  never  troubled  with  that  disease.  With 
stale  urine  some  mix  ashes  of  calcined  oyster- shells,  for  the 
cure  of  eruptions  on  the  bodies  of  infants,  and  all  kinds  of 
running  ulcers:  it  is  used,  too,  as  a  liniment  for  corrosive  sores, 
burns,  diseases  of  the  rectum,  chaps  upon  the  body,  and  stings 
inflicted  by  scorpions.  The  most  celebrated  inidwives  have 
pronounced  that  there  is  no  lotion  which  removes  itching  sen- 
sations more  effectually ;  and,  with  the  addition  of  nitre,21  they 
prescribe  it  for  the  cure  of  ulcers  of  the  head,  porrigo,  and 
cancerous  sores,  those  of  the  generative  organs  in  particular. 
But  the  fact  is,  and  there  is  no  impropriety  in  saying  so,  that 
every  person's  own  urine  is  the  best  for  his  own  case,  due 

18  From  the  Greek  Trruw,  "  to  spit." 

19  «  Argema." 

30  Who  had  to  use  lant,  or  stale  urine,  in  their  business. 
21  At  a  future  period  we  shall  have  to    discuss  the  identity  of  the 
"nitrum  "  of  Pliny.     See  B.  xxxi.  c.  46. 

Chap.  20.]          REMEDIES    DERIVED    FROM   FEMALES.  301 

care  being  taken  to  apply  it  immediately,  and  unmixed  with 
anything  else ;  in  such  cases  as  the  bite  of  a  dog,  for  instance, 
or  the  quill  of  a  hedge-hog  entering  the  flesh,  a  sponge  or 
some  wool  being  the  vehicle  in  which  it  is  applied.  Kneaded 
up  with  ashes,  it  is  good  for  the  bite  of  a  mad  dog,  and  for  the 
cure  of  stings  inflicted  by  serpents.  As  to  the  bite  of  the 
scolopendra,  the  effects  of  urine  are  said  to  be  quite  mar- 
vellous— the  person  who  has  been  injured  has  only  to  touch 
the  crown  of  his  head  with  a  drop  of  his  own  urine,  and  he 
will  experience  an  instantaneous  cure. 


Certain  indications  of  the  health  are  furnished  by  the  urine. 
Thus,  for  example,  if  it  is  white  at  first  in  the  morning  and 
afterwards  high-coloured,  the  first  signifies  that  the  digestion  is 
going  on,  the  last  that  it  is  completed.  When  the  urine  is  red, 
it  is  a  bad  sign ;  but  when  it  is  swarthy,  it  is  the  worst  sign 
of  all.  So,  too,  when  it  is  thick  or  full  of  bubbles,  it  is  a  bad 
sign  ;  and  when  a  white  sediment  forms,  it  is  a  symptom  of 
pains  in  the  region  of  the  viscera  or  in  the  joints.  A  green- 
coloured  urine  is  indicative  of  disease  of  the  viscera,  a  pale  urine 
of  biliousness,  and  a  red  urine  of  some  distemper  in  the  blood. 
The  urine  is  in  a  bad  state,  too,  when  certain  objects  form  in 
it,  like  bran  or  fine  clouds  in  appearance.  A  thin,  white,  urine 
also  is  in  a  diseased  state  ;  but  when  it  is  thick  and  possessed 
of  an  offensive  smell,  it  is  significant  of  approaching  death  :  so, 
too,  when  with  children  it  is  thin  and  watery. 

The  adepts  in  magic  expressly  forbid  a  person,  when  about 
to  make  water,  to  uncover  the  body  in  the  face  of  the  sun22  or 
moon,  or  to  sprinkle  with  his  urine  the  shadow  of  any  object- 
whatsoever.  Hesiod23  gives  a  precept,  recommending  persons  to 
make  water  against  an  object  standing  full  before  them,  that  no 
divinity  may  be  offended  by  their  nakedness  being  uncovered. 
Osthanes  maintains  that  every  one  who  drops  some  urine 
upon  his  foot  in  the  morning  will  be  proof  against  all  noxious 

CHAP.  20.   (7.) — FORTY-ONE    REMEDIES    DERIVED    FROM    THE 

The  remedies  said  to  be  derived  from  the  bodies  of  females 

22  This  was  also  one  of  the  Pythagorean  precepts. 

23  Works  and  Days,  1.  727,  et  seq. 

302  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.         [Book  XXVIII. 

closely  approach  the  marvellous  nature  of  prodigies ;  to  say 
nothing  of  still-born  infants  cut  up  limb  by  liinb  for  the  most 
abominable  practices,  expiations  made  with  the  menstrual  dis- 
charge, and  other  devices  which  have  been  mentioned,  not 
only  by  midwives  but  by  harlots24  even  as  well !  The  smell  of  a 
woman's  hair,  burnt,  will  drive  away  serpents,  and  hysterical 
suffocations,  it  is  said,  may  be  dispelled  thereby.  The  ashes 
of  a  woman's  hair,  burnt  in  an  earthen  vessel,  or  used  in 
combination  with  litharge,  will  cure  eruptions  and  prurigo  of 
the  eyes :  used  in  combination  with  honey  they  will  remove 
warts  and  ulcers  upon  infants  ;  with  the  addition  of  honey  and 
frankincense,  they  will  heal  wounds  upon  the  head,  and  fill  up 
all  concavities  left  by  corrosive  ulcers ;  used  with  hogs'  lard, 
they  will  cure  inflammatory  tumours  and  gout;  and  applied  topi- 
cally to  the  part  affected,  they  will  arrest  erysipelas  and  hse- 
morrhage,  and  remove  itching  pimples  on  the  body  which 
resemble  the  stings  of  ants. 


As  to  the  uses  to  which  woman's  milk  has  been  applied,  it 
is  generally  agreed  that  it  is  the  sweetest  and  the  most  deli- 
cate of  all,  and  that  it  is  the  best25  of  remedies  for  chronic 
fevers  and  cceliac  affections,  when  the  woman  has  just  weaned 
her  infant  more  particularly.  In  cases,  too,  of  sickness  at 
stomach,  fevers,  and  gnawing  sensations,  it  has  been  found  by 
experience  to  be  highly  beneficial ;  as  also,  in  combination 
with  frankincense,  for  abscesses  of  the  mamillse.  When  the 
eyes  are  bloodshot  from  the  effects  of  a  blow,  or  affected  with 
pain  or  defiuxion,  it  is  a  very  good  plan  to  inject  woman's  milk 
into  them,  more  particularly  in  combination  with  honey  and 
juice  of  daffodil,  or  else  powdered  frankincense.  In  all  cases, 
however,  the  milk  of  a  woman  who  has  been  delivered  of  a 
male  child  is  the  most  efficacious,  and  still  more  so  if  she  has 
had  male  twins ;  provided  always  she  abstains  from  wine  and 
food  of  an  acrid  nature.  Mixed  with  the  white  of  an  egg  in 
a  liquid  state,  and  applied  to  the  forehead  in  wool,  it  arrests 

24  The  use  of  the  word  "prodidere"    shows  that  treatises  had  been 
written  on  these  abominable  subjects.     Lais,  Elephantis,  and  Salpe  were 
probably  the  "  meretrices"  to  whom  he  here  alludes.     See  c.  23,  and  the 
end  of  this  Book. 

25  There  is  probably  no  foundation  for  this  assertion. 

Chap.  21.]       BEMEDIKS  DEK1VKD  FROM  WOMAN'S  MILK.  303 

defluxions  of  the  eyes.  If  a  frog26  has  spirted  its  secretions27 
into  the  eye,  woman's  milk  is  a  most  excellent  remedy  ;  and 
for  the  bite  of  that  reptile  it  is  used  hoth  internally  and  ex- 

It  is  asserted  that  if  a  person  is  rubbed  at  the  same  moment 
with  the  milk  of  both  mother  and  daughter,  he  will  be  proof 
for  the  rest  of  his  life  against  all  affections  of  the  eyes. 
Mixed  with  a  small  quantity  of  oil,  woman's  milk  is  a  cure  for 
diseases  of  the  ears ;  and  if  they  are  in  pain  from  the  effects 
of  a  blow,  it  is  applied  warm  with  goose-grease.  If  the  ears 
emit  an  offensive  smell,  a  thing  that  is  mostly  the  case  in 
diseases  of  long  standing,  wool  is  introduced  into  those  organs, 
steeped  in  woman's  milk  and  honey.  While  symptoms  of 
jaundice  are  still  visible  in  the  eyes,  woman's  milk  is  injected, 
in  combination  with  elaterium.28  Taken  as  a  drink,  it  is  pro- 
ductive of  singularly  good  effects,  where  the  poison  of  the 
sea-hare,  the  buprestis,29  or,  as  Aristotle  tells  us,  the  plant 
dorycnium30  has  been  administered  ;  as  a  preventive  also  of  the 
madness  produced  by  taking  henbane.  Woman's  milk  also, 
mixed  with  hemlock,  is  recommended  as  a  liniment  for  gout ; 
while  some  there  are  who  employ  it  for  that  purpose  in  com- 
bination with  wool-grease31  or  goose-grease  ;  a  form  in  which 
it  is  used  as  an  application  for  pains  in  the  uterus.  Taken  as 
a  drink,  it  arrests  diarrhoea,  Eabirius32  says,  and  acts  as  an 
emmenagogue ;  but  where  the  woman  has  been  delivered  of  a 
female  child,  her  milk  is  of  use  only  for  the  cure  of  face 

Woman's  milk  is  also  a  cure  for  affections  of  the  lungs  ;  and, 
mixed  with  the  urine  of  a  youth  who  has  not  arrived  at  pu- 
berty, and  Attic  honey,  in  the  proportion  of  one  spoonful 
of  each,  it  removes  singing  in  the  ears,  I  find.  Dogs  which 
have  once  tasted  the  milk  of  a  woman  who  has  been  delivered 
of  a  male  child,  will  never  become  mad,  they  say. 

26  "Rana."      He  means  the  "rubeta"  probably,  or  "  bramble- frog/' 
so  often  mentioned  by  him.     See  Note  84,  p.  290. 

27  "  Salivam."  2*  See  B.  xx.  c.  2. 

29  See  B.  xxx.  c.  10.     Latreille  has  written  a  very  able  treatise  on  the 
Buprestis  of  the  ancients,  and  considers  it  to  belong  to  the  family  of  Can- 
tharides.     AnnaUs  du  Museum  d'histoire  Naturelle,  Vol.  xix.  p.  129,  et  seq. 

30  Convolvulus  dorycnium  ;    see  B.  xx^.  c.  105,  and  B.  xxiii.  c.  18. 

31  "  CEsypurn."     See  B-  xxx  c.  23. 

33  Possibly  the  Epic  writer  of  that  name,  mentioned  by  Ovid.  Seneca, 
Quintilian,  and  Velleius  Paterculus. 

304  PLINY'S  NATURAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVIII. 


A  woman's  fasting  spittle  is  generally  considered  highly 
efficacious  for  "bloodshot  eyes :  it  is  good  also  for  defluxions  of 
those  organs,  the  inflamed  corners  of  the  eyes  being  moistened 
with  it  every  now  and  then  ;  the  result,  too,  is  still  more  suc- 
cessful, if  the  woman  has  abstained  from  food  and  wine  the 
day  before. 

I  find  it  stated  that  head-ache  may  be  alleviated  by  tying  a 
woman's  fillet33  round  the  head. 


Over  and  above  these  particulars,  there  is  no  limit  to  the 
marvellous  powers  attributed  to  females.  For,  in  the  first 
place,  hailstorms,  they  say,  whirlwinds,  and  lightning84  even, 
will  be  scared  away  by  a  woman  uncovering  her  body  while 
her  monthly  courses  are  upon  her.  The  same,  too,  with  all 
other  kinds  of  tempestuous  weather ;  and  out  at  sea,  a  storm 
may  be  lulled  by  a  woman  uncovering  her  body  merely,  even 
though  not  menstruating  at  the  time.  As  to  the  menstrual 
discharge  itself,  a  thing  that  in  other  respects,  as35  already 
stated  on  a  more  appropriate  occasion,  is  productive  of  the  most 
monstrous  effects,  there  are  some  ravings  about  it  of  a  most 
dreadful  and  unutterable  nature.  Of  these  particulars,  how- 
ever, I  do  not  feel  so  much  shocked  at  mentioning  the  follow- 
ing. If  the  menstrual  discharge  coincides  with  an  eclipse  of 
the  moon  or  sun,  the  evils  resulting  from  it  are  irremediable  ; 
and  no  less  so,  when  it  happens  while  the  moon  is  in  conjunc- 
tion with  the  sun;  the  congress  with  a, woman  at  such  a  period 
being  noxious,  and  attended  with  fatal  effects  to  the  man.  At 
this  period  also,  the  lustre  of  purple  is  tarnished  by  the  touch 
of  a  woman  :  so  much  more  baneful  is  her  influence  at  this 
time  than  at  any  other.  At  any  other  time,  also,  if  a  woman 
strips  herself  naked  while  she  is  menstruating,  and  walks 
round  a  field  of  wheat,  the  caterpillars,  worms,  beetles,  and 
other  vermin,  will  fall  from  off  the  ears  of  corn.  Metrodorus 
of  Scepsos  tells  us  that  this  discovery  was  first  made  in  Cappa- 
docia ;  and  that,  in  consequence  of  such  multitudes  of  can- 

353  "  Fascia."     Either  a  stomacher,  or  a  fillet  for  the  head. 
34  The  mention  of  lightning  here,  Hardouin  seems  to  look  upon  as  an 
interpolation.  35  jn  g  yfj  c   13 

Chap.  23.]  THE   MENSTRUAL  DISCHARGE.  305 

tharides  being  found  to  breed  there,  it  is  the  practice  for 
women  to  walk  through  the  middle  of  the  fields  with  their 
garments  tucked  up  above  the  thighs.36  In  other  places,  again, 
it  is  the  usage  for  women  to  go  barefoot,  with  the  hair 
dishevelled  and  the  girdle  loose :  due  precaution  must  be  taken, 
however,  that  this  is  not  done  at  sun-rise,  for  if  so,  the  crop 
will  wither  and  dry  up.  Young  vines,  too,  it  is  said,  are  in- 
jured irremediably  by  the  touch  of  a  woman  in  this  state  ;  and 
both  rue  and  ivy,  plants  possessed  of  highly  medicinal  virtues, 
will  die  instantly  upon  being  touched  by  her. 

Much  as  I  have  already  stated  on  the  virulent  effects  of  this 
discharge,  I  have  to  state,  in  addition,  that  bees,  it  is  a  well- 
known  fact,  will  forsake  their  hives  if  touched  by  a  menstruous 
woman;  that  linen  boiling  in  the  cauldron  will  turn  black,  -that 
the  edge  of  a  razor  will  become  blunted,  and  that  copper  ves- 
sels will  contract  a  fetid  smell  and  become  covered  with  verdi- 
grease,  on  coming  in  contact  with  her.  A  mare  big  with  foal, 
if  touched  by  a  woman  in  this  state,  will  be  sure  to  miscarry ; 
nay,  even  more  than  this,  at  the  very  sight  of  a  woman, 
though  seen  at  a  distance  even,  should  she  happen  to  be 
menstruating  for  the  first  time  after  the  loss  of  her  virginity, 
or  for  the  first  time,  while  in  a  state  of  virginity.  The  bitu- 
men37 that  is  found  in  Judaea,  will  yield  to  nothing  but  the 
menstrual  discharge  ;  its  tenacity  being  overcome,  as  already 
stated,  by  the  agency  of  a  thread  from  a  garment  which  has 
been  brought  in  contact  with  this  fluid.  Fire  itself  even,  an 
element  which  triumphs  over  every  other  substance,  is  unable 
to  conquer  this  ;  for  if  reduced  to  ashes  and  then  sprinkled 
upon  garments  when  about  to  be  scoured,  it  will  change  their 
purple  tint,  and  tarnish  the  brightness  of  the  colours.  Indeed 
so  pernicious  are  its  properties,  that  women  themselves,  the 
source  from  which  it  is  derived,  are  far  from  being  proof  against 
its  effects ;  a  pregnant  woman,  for  instance,  if  touched  with 
it,  or  indeed  if  she  so  much  as  steps  over  it,  will  be  liable  to 

Lais  and  Elephantis38  have  given  statements  quite  at  va- 
riance, on  the  subject  of  abortives  ;  they  mention  the  efficacy 

36  Columella  describes  this  practice  in  verse,  in  B.  x.,  and  in  B.  xi.  c.  3» 
JElian  also  mentions  it.  ^ 

37  See  B.  vii.  c.  13.     Tacitus  tells  the  same  wonderful  story. 

38  See  the  end  of  this  Book. 

VOL.    V.  X 

306  PLISTY'S  KATUEAL  HISTORY.          [Book  XXVIII. 

for  that  purpose  of  charcoal  of  cabbage  root,  myrtle  root,  or 
tamarisk  root,  quenched  in  the  menstrual  discharge  ;  they  say 
that  she-asses  will  be  barren  for  as  many  years  as  they  have 
eaten  barley-corns  steeped  in  this  fluid  ;  and  they  have  enu- 
merated various  other  monstrous  and  irreconcileable  properties, 
the  one  telling  us,  for  instance,  that  fruitfulness  may  be  ensured 
by  the  very  same  methods,  which,  according  to  the  statement 
of  the  other,  are  productive  of  barrenness;  to  all  which  stories  it 
is  the  best  plan  to  refuse  credit  altogether.  Bithus  of  Dyrrha- 
chium  informs  us  that  a  mirror,39  which  has  been  tarnished  by 
the  gaze  of  a^menstruous  female,  will  recover  its  brightness  if 
the  same  woman  looks  steadily  upon  the  back  of  it ;  he  states, 
also,  that  all  evil  influences  of  this  nature  will  be  entirely 
neutralized,  if  the  woman  carries  the  fish  known  as  the  sur 
mullet  about  her  person. 

On  the  other  hand,  again,  many  writers  say  that,  baneful  as 
it  is,  there  are  certain  remedial  properties  in  this  fluid ;  that  it 
is  a  good  plan,  for  instance,  to  use  it  as  a  topical  application  for 
gout,  and  that  women,  while  menstruating,  can  give  relief  by 
touching  scrofulous  sores  and  imposthumes  of  the  parotid 
glands,  inflamed  tumours,  erysipelas,  boils,  and  defluxions  of 
the  eyes.  According  to  Lais  and  Salpe,  the  bite  of  a  mad  dog, 
as  well  as  tertian  or  quartan  fevers,  may  be  cured  by  putting 
some  menstruous  blood  in  the  wool  of  a  black  ram  and  enclo- 
sing it  in  a  silver  bracelet ;  and  we  learn  from  Diotimus  of 
Thebes  that  the  smallest  portion  will  suffice  of  any  kind  of 
cloth  that  has  been  stained  therewith,  a  thread  even,  if  in- 
serted and  worn  in  a  bracelet.  The  midwife  Sotira  informs 
us  that  the  most  efficient  cure  for  tertian  and  quartan  fevers  is 
to  rub  the  soles  of  the  patient's  feet  therewith,  the  result. being 
still  more  successful  if  the  operation  is  performed  by  the  woman 
herself,  without  the  patient  being  aware  of  it ;  she  says,  too, 
that  this  is  an  excellent  method  for  reviving  persons  when 
attacked  with  epilepsy. 

Icetidas  the  physician  pledges  his  word  that  quartan  fever 
may  be  cured  by  sexual  intercourse,  provided  the  woman  is 
just  beginning  to  menstruate.  It  is  universally  agreed,  too,  that 
when  a  person  has  been  bitten  by  a  dog  and  manifests  a  dread 
of  water  and  of  all  kinds  of  drink,  it  will  be  quite  sufficient 
to  put  under  his  cup  a  strip  of  cloth  that  has  been  dipped  in 
39  See  B.  vii.  c.  13. 

Chap.  24.]      KEMED1ES   DEBITED    FROM    THE   ELEPHANT.        307 

this  fluid ;  the  result  being  that  the  hydrophobia  will  immedi- 
ately disappear.  This  arises,  no  doubt,  from  that  powerful 
sympathy  which  has  been  so  much  spoken  of  by  the  Greeks, 
and  the  existence  of  which  is  proved  by  the  fact,40  already  men- 
tioned, that  dogs  become  mad  upon  tasting  this  fluid.  It  is  awell- 
known  fact,  too,  that  the  menstruous  discharge,  reduced  to  ashes, 
and  applied  with  furnace  soot  and  wax,  is  a  cure  for  ulcers  upon 
all  kinds  of  beasts  of  burden;  and  that  stains  made  upon  a  gar- 
ment with  it  can  only  be  removed  by  the  agency  of  the  urine 
of  the  same  female.  Equally  certain  it  is,  too,  that  this  fluid,  re- 
duced to  ashes  and  mixed  with  oil  of  roses,  is  very  useful,  applied 
to  the  forehead,  for  allaying  head-ache,  in  women  more  parti- 
cularly ;  as  also  that  the  nature  of  the  discharge  is  most  viru- 
lent in  females  whose  virginity  has  been  destroyed  solely  by 
the  lapse  of  time. 

Another  thing  universally  acknowledged  and  one  which  I 
am  ready  to  believe  with  the  greatest  pleasure,  is  the  fact,  that 
if  the  door-posts  are  only  touched  with  the  menstruous  fluid 
all  spells  of  the  magicians  will  be  neutralized — a  set  of  men 
the  mo